New Look Baseball Team Optimistic for Season|
Texas Tech has nine returning players and 26 newcomers on its roster
Feb. 7, 2013
By Sam Ross
There is a longing sense of anticipation and excitement amidst the jumble of speeding cars and frantic students rushing to class.
It is quiet here -- much more relaxed than one would imagine given the circumstances. Following a few minutes of silent observation, the coach and his players finally start to appear, giving a glimpse of what we are to see for the near future.
The excitement of the players and the confidence in their coach's voice convey a sense of readiness. The anticipation has dwindled and the moment they've all been waiting for is finally here.
This is the scene at Dan Law Field at Rip Griffin Park with the Texas Tech baseball team under first year head coach Tim Tadlock. Aside from Tadlock, there are a lot of new faces around the diamond this season.
After losing a school-record nine players to the Major League Baseball Draft in 2012, it shouldn't come as a surprise that Tech is a relatively inexperienced group. With only nine returning players, leadership will be a key aspect in the development and maturation of this young and talented core of players.
"I like being a leader," Masek said. "I like looking after the younger guys and showing them what it's like to be a Red Raider, a good student athlete and showing them what to do on and off the field."
Just as leadership is imperative to team chemistry in the locker room, the same can be said for competition on the diamond. When asked about his players roles in the upcoming season, Tadlock was impressed with the depth of his team.
"As far as pitching goes you could literally line up seven or eight guys that could start on this team," Tadlock said. "You could line up three or four that could start in center field, and you could say the same about the infield. Competition is healthy and we've got plenty of it."
Proudfoot and Masek are embracing the high level of competition leading up to the season. Masek is in his third season with the Red Raiders while Proudfoot returns after becoming the first freshman in school history to start at least 50 games at shortstop. Both are among the most experienced players on the 2013 roster.
"Those guys are going to have to fill roles and definitely be key guys for us," Tadlock said. "But there are also some young guys that are ready to jump in there and get after it."
Evaluating the talent available and assembling that talent into a winning team is the job of Tim Tadlock. In his first season at the helm, Tadlock and his players seem at ease when discussing the upcoming season. Despite entering the season with so many unknowns, a lack of confidence doesn't appear to be an issue for this year's team.
"Pressure is just not being confident in yourself," Masek said. "I feel like we've prepared ourselves through the fall and through workouts so far this spring."
The youthful and talented group of players assembled under Tadlock gives great reason for optimism regarding the future of Texas Tech baseball. With the season just around the corner, Tadlock and his team are confident in the preparation they have put into the offseason.
"I think we'll be really strong," Proudfoot said. "We're all competing really hard, and we're just excited to get the season started."