Proudfoot catching a 30-pound kingfish on The Strait of Juan de Fuca in Port Angeles, Wash. this summer
Aug. 8, 2012
The biggest question entering the 2012 Texas Tech baseball season was who the shortstop would be. It didn't take freshman Tim Proudfoot long to provide that answer.
Texas Tech athletics communications recently caught up with Proudfoot who at the time was fishing in Port Angeles, Wash., on The Strait of Juan de Fuca, to talk about what he has been up to this summer, his freshman season at Tech, making adjustments both on and off the field and how excited he is to be playing this coming year for head coach Tim Tadlock.
Proudfoot started 54-of-55 games for the Red Raiders at shortstop in 2012 becoming the first Tech freshman in school history to start over 50 games at the position during a season.
Proudfoot might be best known for his glove, but after seeing the 30-pound kingfish he reeled in just earlier in the day, his fishing skills might be up to par with his skills on the diamond.
During his initial collegiate season, Proudfoot's defensive abilities placed him among the top defensive shortstops in the country. He was named to the Brooks Wallace Award Watch List, a national award given annually to the top shortstop. He was one of only four freshmen in the nation named the national watch list.
Proudfoot batted .237 (49-for-207) with 33 runs, 14 doubles, five triples, two home runs, 29 RBI and tallied just 11 errors (nine throwing) in 258 opportunities while committing just two fielding miscues. In addition, he led all Big 12 freshmen with 21 extra-base hits.
What have you been doing this summer? Has it been nice to get a little bit of downtime?
Tim Proudfoot - "It's been really nice to get some downtime just because how long the season is and how demanding school and playing ball is at the same time. This year I decided to take some time off to kind of relax and see my family because I didn't get to see them during the season or the school year at all. I'm really close with everyone in my family. It was time to get back home and spend some time with them and to keep my mind off baseball just for a little bit before we jump back into it."
Evaluate your experience of playing this year and what your expectations were coming into this season
Tim Proudfoot - "It's not what I expected. At some times it was but for the most part I expected it to be a lot more difficult than it ended up being from going to school full-time while playing ball at the same time. It's really demanding. Once you get in a routine, it makes it a lot easier. It turned out quite a bit different than I first expected (both school and baseball). The pitching was way better than I could've anticipated. Other than that, it wasn't as difficult as I expected it to be."
Was it a grind on you being the everyday starter at shortstop?
Tim Proudfoot - "At first when I signed my letter of intent, it was in my mind, 'I'm going to be the shortstop.' Then I got down there and started playing and then I was like, 'wow these guys are really good too.' I then had to step it up another notch and try and compete. Every day was a competition. It was fun playing together in the fall because we all had fun with that. Going into the first game, anyone of us could've had the starting shortstop position. I was shocked they gave it to me because the other guys were just as good and deserving of it as well. Once I took up the spot, it was mine to lose from that point on, so I just kept pushing it. It ended up being a lot more than I thought and it was a grind every day. It takes up so much both mentally and physically and that was a big change from high school and all the previous years of baseball."
You had to make the adjustments being a freshman in college and handling all the things off the field. How was it managing your time during the season with class and baseball?
Tim Proudfoot - "At first it was pretty tough. The classes weren't as difficult back in high school. The first semester I was taking more demanding classes than I did the following semester because I didn't know what to do my first semester. I took all the classes that I thought would be challenging and they ended up being really challenging. I realized my second semester should be more of my easier classes for me so I would have more time to focus on baseball and do both without one being more demanding than the other. It was pretty tough though. To be more successful, I had to be more organized and I learned that from going to class then going to practice and from going to weights every morning as well."
How did you make the adjustments from fall to the spring offensively?
Tim Proudfoot - "I realized my bat needed work and my glove time doubled from the last season and from the winter. I would hit every day and I came home and would hit with someone else. I would hit every chance I could. I worked as much as I could to get better with my bat because I knew I had to step it up to be able to compete at the level I'm going to be at now. The whole off-season helped me a lot as well as getting down to Tech and working with the coaching staff and getting into the swing of things and seeing live pitching. Everything started to click for me right there."
How good was the Big 12 pitching and who were you most impressed with?
Tim Proudfoot - "Big 12 pitching was really good. Especially the Friday night guys. It seemed like everybody had an ace that could blow it by you on Friday night. Michael Wacha (Texas A&M) was the most deceiving pitcher. From the side view, his curveball just flops in there and then when you get up there, I couldn't see it. It looked just like his fastball."
How was the experience and atmosphere playing at Rip Griffin Park?
Tim Proudfoot - "I really didn't know what to expect for the first game. I was jittery and kind of shaken because I was so nervous which really doesn't happen to me. I've never been that nervous before. It blew my mind how involved the fans get and how big the traditions are here. It was really amazing."
Who are some of the guys that you looked up to/respected and taught you a lot in your first year of college baseball?
Tim Proudfoot - "Jamodrick (McGruder) would be one. He was a good guy and I got along with him really well. He was actually my roommate on all the road trips. I really got to know him. He was the second baseman, obviously, so we always worked together. We really clicked and hit it off. If I had a question about anything like school or classes, he was there to help me. On the field, I would say Reid Redman or Barrett Barnes. They both led by example. Reid really leads by everything. He leads with his voice and he'll lead by showing you on the field. I really liked Reid. He and I really got along as well."
What did you pick up from Coach Tadlock and what did you pick up from him that makes you excited about coming back and playing for him this year?
Tim Proudfoot - "I'm really excited to play for him. He is really outgoing and he really knows what he's talking about for baseball on the field and off the field. He helped me a lot on the infield because he was our infield coach, so I really got to know him that way. He's a really good guy and down to earth. I'm really excited to get back in the swing of things with him and the new coaching staff which I have not met yet."