College Baseball Daily continues our series of interviews with coaches from across the country today with Louisiana Tech head coach Wade Simoneaux. He is entering his ninth season in charge of the Bulldogs as he has a career record of 202-243-1. Last season saw them go 27-30 and 11-13 in the offensively loaded WAC.
CBD: Louisiana Tech is coming off a 27-30 campaign and a WAC record of 11-13. What are your expectations heading into 2011 and will be your biggest challenges to this squad?
Our expectations are to win the conference. I think if we would have had a healthy pitching staff last season we would have had a legitimate shot at winning the conference but we lost seven scholarship arms to injury. I think the expectations are high this season because we have a lot of guys returning that have a lot of at-bats and we also have a lot of pitchers returning with some quality experience. The main thing is to stay healthy this season, especially on the mound.
2. Both Mike Jefferson and Trevor Peterson return to the squad after spending last season in the startingrotation. Do you expect both of them to stay in the weekend rotation and who fills the spot left open by the graduation of Jamey Bradshaw?
Jefferson and Peterson will probably be our third and fourth starters this year with Jeb Stefan and Graham Meyers at the top of the weekend rotation. Another possible starter could be Jamie Gilley or possibly a freshman that steps up.
3. Last season, Caleb Dudley led the squad with two saves as three players recording at least a save. Who do you expect to lead the backend of the bullpen in 2011?
Caleb Dudley and Will Alvis will be two of the main guys unless Graham Meyers does not start and we decide to move him back into the bullpen. John Anderson is back and can contribute but his health is an issue right now. We have four experienced guys that we are looking forward to trying to piece the end of the game together with.
4. Have any of the incoming freshmen impressed you during Fall workouts? Do you expect any of them to break into the starting lineup/rotation this spring?
Tyler Qualls will probably start a third of our games behind the plate and catch the last couple of innings in several other games. He is the first freshman that comes to mind. There are a few freshman pitchers like Chris Sadberry, Marc Picciola, Beau Bayliss, Brent Fletcher or Sam Alvis that could get some innings. Position player wise, Cole Gilmore could probably get some time as the DH and Ryan Gebhardt and Colby Johnson could get work both in the field and on the mound. We have some freshman that will contribute.
5. This season we will see a new bat standard go into effect. Has your squad had a chance to try out these new bats and if so, what are your thoughts on them?
We don’t mind the new bats because we have a lot of strong hitters and experience returning. Our hitting coach Fran Andermann does a great job with our guys on hitting line drives. We are probably not going to have the home run production like we did in the past but we like our hitting lineup. Everyone has to use the watered down bats so I don’t think it will be a big disadvantage for us.
6. We have now been through three seasons with the Uniform Start Date being in effect. What is your opinion on the rule change? Has it been a good move?
I think it is a horrible rule. I think we should be able to start Feb. 1 like we once did because you see more and more pitching injuries now because the pitching gets jammed up into four months rather than five months.
7. Who has been your biggest influence on your coaching philosophy or career?
Believe it or not, I learned what not to do from some coaches. However, a big influence on my career came from Tony Robichaux during the eight years that I spent at (Louisiana) Lafayette. The other coaches just taught me what not to do and that kind of helped me out.
College Baseball Daily would like to thank Coach Simoneaux for taking the time out of his busy schedule to talk with us. Special thanks to Louisiana Tech Assistant Director of Media Relations Austin Staton for setting up the interview and sending us the photos. If any other SID’s or coaches would like to be featured in a future interview feel free to send me an email.