Baseball – Doug Nikhazy Interview (1-24-20)

Anything in particular you try
to respond to the ball and all that after
the success last year? Yeah, I started throwing a —
well I haven’t started. I threw three-pitch mix
last year. This year I have
a four-pitch mix, but the slider,
I had it last year, I just didn’t really
throw it as much. So, this year, I’m going to throw it
as, like, an actual pitch, and it’s going to be
pretty good, a good addition. What was the motivation
for adding it? Just to be more deceptive, be able to get around
left-handed hitters. I think my splits was better
against righties, which was funny. So, have better splits
against lefties, throw something
that’s going to be between
that fast ball/curve ball. You have the big sweeping
curve ball and then a fast ball, so something in between
those two pitches. Mentally how to you come
into this thing differently? You’re obviously kind of
the head of the staff now, versus last year
just trying to find a role. How is this different
for you right now? This year it’s been, like,
a lot of fun being, like, somewhere where I can really
help guys and be something — I help guys out on the mound
and stuff like that. So, this year,
just walking around, trying to help guys out,
and always being there for whatever they need,
whatever questions. I think we have a lot of guys with a ton of potential
on this team, and we’re just going to
get them in shape, get them ready
when the season comes. On that note, you kind of talked
to them about that? Because this time last year,
you weren’t really in, just a Saturday guy playing
the role you were going to play. Right.
I guess with the younger guys, I guess it’s possible.
Yeah. I mean, I just tell them, you
know, that anything can happen. Like; nothing is set in stone. Like, this season is going
to have its ebbs and flows, things are going to change, and you have to be able to,
like, come when they ring the bell,
like, be able to step up,
take that spot. So, just told them to be ready,
and even then, not even be ready,
but just day one, first game, like, everybody’s going
to be all-hands on deck. You talked a lot last year about
how important cooper was to you. Right.
Guys like Knox and Hayden, how has that transition
been for you? It’s been good.
I mean, throwing to them, they’re just as well
at handling the baseball, and they can really
shoot guys down as well. They’re really good
behind the dish. I don’t think it’s going to be a
fall off or anything like that. It should be really good. [ Speaks indistinctly ] I’ve seen more command than
I’ve seen from anything else. I think when I came in, I was just really trying
to impress everybody, see how, like,
metrically different I could be. I don’t know if that
makes any sense. I’m trying to have, like,
the biggest curve ball possible, the craziest fast ball. I think they really listen
to Coach B and try to get into
the system of, all right, I’m going to try
and throw it on the corner. I’m going to do things to get
SEC hitters out and not just try
to impress people. So, they’ve done
a really good job of getting those notable guys like Drew McDaniel,
liking Derek Diamond, those two, they just really
pick apart the corners. They’ve been really good all
fall, and going into the spring. Yeah, specifically with Diamond, are we going to be seeing
a little bit more of him? He’s a stud.
He’s a stud in his own regard. He comes to the field to work. He’s just a great guy to be
around, brings so much energy, and I think whatever role
he fits, wherever he ends up, he’s going to be so good
in whatever he does, because he really is, like,
a good guy, not just, like, on the field,
off the field, and really brings it
when he gets on the mound too. Do you find yourself thinking
ahead to a little at all? Do you start thinking about that
already? Always.
Yeah. I mean, I love looking ahead and just trying
to be prepared always. Like I’ve already started
looking at film, looking at everything,
trying to make sure that I know how everything’s going to be. And, yeah, I mean I played with
a couple guys on the team this past summer, so we’re always jawing off
to each other whenever we can, so certainly
super excited for it. Looking forward to it. I get you’re not in head
to head, per se, but you face,
like, eight all Americans over the course
that first night, does that juice you up
a little bit? Oh, yeah, for sure. I mean, it’s no waiting around, no trying to figure out,
no feeling it out, and that’s the way
I want it, you know. Because there’s been experiences
where we just came out and we’ve just
kind of tried to, like, see what’s going to happen
or anything like that. And if I can just dive in,
get off to a really good start, that would be a great way
to start the season.

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