Sept. 7, 2006
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Entering his second campaign as Hoosier baseball skipper, Tracy Smith is excited about the direction the program is headed. Twenty-one freshmen litter a young roster hungry to taste postseason play. Smith recently sat down with IUHOOSIERS.com to talk about his new-look team.
What is the biggest difference between year one and now beginning year two with this program?
"The obvious thing is that with this year, we've had the time to look at our program to make changes and adjustments and also bring in our first recruiting class. We learned a lot from last year, and we have put in some principles with what we want on and off the baseball field. We have learned from our mistakes, and we have put a sound foundation down to build for the future."
With all the new faces, talk about what the first team meeting was like?
"It was interesting. When we stood up and gave the introductions, we went through a few names of upperclassmen, then it seemed like the rest of the room consisted of a ton of freshmen. We are going to be young. There is no question about that. But we feel with the veterans we have coming back and the talent with the freshman class, we have a chance to compete right away."
What do you hope to accomplish this fall?
"Our greatest challenge is to bring the guys who have been there and done it before and mix them well with some of these talented young guys. They also have to understand that it isn't all about talent. It's about attitude and work ethic. The quicker we can blend those two, the better we are going to be. Our biggest thing is to build team chemistry and cohesiveness. I am so confident in the upperclassmen we have."
What is your goal for year two?
"We have to be realistic. There's going to be a learning curve when you have younger kids coming into your program, but I think we need to experience postseason play. It's just something these guys need to do. I think we are definitely capable of it, and our goal is to put ourselves in position to play in the NCAA Tournament. To do that, we need to play in the Big Ten tournament. That is something we want and are going to accomplish."