Vanderbilt baseball head coach Tim Corbin responds to your questions submitted on VUcommodores.com earlier this month.
What are your takes on some of the important new rules? How will they affect the Commodore program and the game as a whole? I don't think they'll impact our program as much as some others that deal with a lot of junior college recruiting. It would be more state school than private school affected. I'm most against the new rules that affect the way scholarship money is delegated. Now, we have to give a minimum of 25 percent of a scholarship towards an individual. I don't think when you go 11.7, that's probably not the best thing when you're being given a small amount of money and being told how to spend it, too. I'm also against the 35-man roster because with the Major League Draft signing date being August 15th, there's going to be a lot of late signs and a coach won't really have a grip on what the roster size is going to be.
Will the team wear the throwback uniforms more this season? We've got a couple of other uniform options we'll implement. The kids like the throwback uniforms because they're comfortable. We'll wear them again, even though they didn't bring us good luck at the end of the year.
Have redshirt decisions been made for any of the new players? No. I won't make redshirt decisions until leading up to the first game because there are so many questions about which young kids will play for us and who won't. With redshirting decisions, the player makes that decision. I don't. We might suggest it, but when they get to that point, they determine whether or not to redshirt.
Who was the best looking pitcher on the team from 2003-2006 (submitted by former picther Matt Buschmann)? In my tenure here, we've only had two good-looking pitchers: John Scott and Ryan Mullins.
What college did you attend and why? I went to Ohio Wesleyan, a Division III school, because it was my best opportunity to play college baseball since I wasn't recruited by any large schools.
Can college baseball ever get the same respect as football and basketball? It can get the same respect, but it won't generate the same type of revenue. I would say the level of its growth will continue to increase because of TV. ESPN in the last three years has taken an active role in putting the Regionals and Super Regionals on TV. The College World Series is going to be rescheduled to make it a more fan-friendly event on TV. I can see a lot of upward movement with the sport.
Who will be the stiffest competition for Vanderbilt in the SEC in 2008? All of them. There are 11 teams. I think it's a miss-mash. South Carolina and Kentucky will be very good. I think now we're at a point when there is no lower tier in the conference. Everyone is right in the middle. If anyone has any weaknesses, they will be exploited quickly.
Should Vanderbilt be considered the favorite to repeat as SEC Champions? I don't know if we're the favorite or not. Our goal is to win the SEC. It just matters what we do on the field.
Great high school baseball players today have a significantly high chance of signing a pro baseball contract immediately out of high school. Many coaches recruit these great players but don't land all of them on campus. What is your philosophy on this and how much time do you invest recruiting great players given the slim likelihood of them going to a college campus? I never think in recruiting we're ever going to lose one person. If we do, it's a complete surprise to me because we go into this doing research on the kids, regardless of how highly they're rated. The bottom line is if they're going to show up or not. At a private school like Vanderbilt, it affords us the chance to keep kids that would not normally end up in school. The kids we recruit really value the academic experience of Vanderbilt. There's a reason why kids want to come to Vanderbilt.
How are you planning to replace the many innings David Price pitched in 2008? With another pitcher. He threw 133 innings. Mike Minor threw 90 innings. I would expect Minor to pitch about 130 innings. We'll slide someone up to Minor's amount of innings. When you lose people, you don't replace them, but you have to replace the innings they pitch. With that, you give people like Caleb Cotham, Taylor Hill, or Steven Schwartz an opportunity to pitch. These are new names and bodies to fans but not to us. They're capable of pitching well.
What are the plans to add additional seating to Hawkins Field? We're working on that right now. There will be temporary seating this year in the outfield, but within a year, there will be permanent seating in the outfield going from the foul pole to the Green Monster.
What did you take away from the Michigan series in the Regional that might benefit the team this year? I don't know if we take anything away, but the atmosphere and competition was what I expected. It was great for the kids to participate in it. As I've always told the kids, `sometimes you've got to knock on the door before you bang through it.' That's what we did last year. It was our first opportunity to host a Regional. I say we played relatively well. There were a lot of different things that happened in the last game that didn't allow us to go further. There are no excuses. The better team won and moved on to the Super Regionals. From that comes a learning experience. Hopefully from what we learned, we'll be able to get through that stretch this year.
If the season started today, how would the rotation stack up behind Minor? How have Cotham and Hill progressed? I think the rotation would be Minor, Brett Jacobson, Nick Christiani, and then Cotham. That's what we're looking at. I think the roles could change depending upon who steps forward and ends up becoming a closer for us, someone that can finish a game. Right now, those four have stepped to the forefront. Hill is doing very well. Hill will serve some type of role we haven't decided upon yet. I like him a lot, trust him, and he's going to be out on the mound.
What role do you see Drew Hayes in this season? He could be middle relief or close. We have to see where his comfort level is. I think he likes to close and likes to finish. He's got a very good arm and good stuff. I like what he brings to the table as far as ability, but we have to get him comfortable and see where he fits best. He will have a role though.