(When Coaches Speak is a series of articles where active coaches will give their thoughts on their own teams, as well as current happenings in the game and offer thoughts on their peers, always in their own words.)
Coming off of a season that saw them play in the Women's College World Series championship series for the first time in school history, Clint Myers' Auburn squad enters 2017 with several question marks in their batting order and depth chart. Despite those questions, though, Myers remains confident in his team's abilities.
"You're gonna lose players every year, so you know you go out there and recruit what you're losing," he says. "We've got some awfully good kids here this year. The future looks bright for us in our opinion."
Coming off the loss to Oklahoma in the winner-take-all game three of the Championship Series a year ago, Myers says the loss has left a bitter taste in his players' mouths: "I think it made them a little bit more determined," Myers said. "I think the idea of how we lost and the circumstances in all three of the games... It's the little things that we talk about on a daily basis that actually have to be performed. It reemphasizes the importance of the little things and paying attention to detail."
Almost famous for his roster depth, often carrying many players that are even over the "dress out" cutoff line for games, Myers says the benefits to the system are multi-faceted. "Every year, we've got one or two players [who] know that they're not going to play, but they're huge as far as team morale. They're huge as far as being great teammates. And that's what they're in there for... Yeah, we carry a lot of kids simply because of the fact that we feel good depth is important... We have 3, 4 pitchers that we can go to... I think that, in order to do the practices that we have, you have to have 23, 24 kids so that you can get what you need done without killing the kids as far as number of reps and things."
With a coaching staff nearly as deep as his lineup, Myers saw son Casey reenter the fray this season after a year away as a member of the San Diego Padres organization. "I think everybody realizes the intelligence factor that he brings to the table at the practice and the games, as well as his ability to teach hitting, is phenomenal," Clint says, a father beaming with pride as much as a coach complimenting his staff member.
Not to leave out other son Corey, Clint shares, "Corey handles the pitchers. He did a masterful job each of the last two years getting us to the College World Series. I'm sure that he's got a lot of great ideas of tings that he's going to be doing with the pitchers again this year."
Having won two national titles at the helm of Arizona State while coaching in the PAC-12, and now in the SEC, Myers wasted no time determining where he falls on the SEC vs. PAC debate: "It's my personal opinion that the SEC has taken over as the premiere conference in the country as far as talent, stadiums, and the ability to go out there and put four or five or six teams in the College World Series. Every time we play a conference games, it's just like playing a super Regional."
Auburn kicks off their 2017 campaign in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico against Oklahoma on Thursday, February 9. The game, a rematch of last year's championship series, will be broadcast on ESPNU.