Left-hander Tyler Webb has a shot to be the team's top-of-the-rotation pitcher this season.
He had a fall season that impressed the coaching staff, and he should be much improved from his freshman campaign, when he went 3-2 with a 3.96 ERA in 36 innings.
Talk about the prospect of being the team's Friday night starter.
It's an exciting opportunity. I just want to do whatever I can to help the team win. I'll pitch wherever the coaches say I need to. I don't have to be the Friday night guy. Wherever they want me is where I'll throw. Friday night is an honor, but it's not the biggest priority. The priority is winning games, and whoever can do it needs to be in there.
How did Blake Cooper and Sam Dyson rub off you?
They're very competitive, gritty and hard-working. They didn't always just strike everyone out. They battled through some innings. They pitched through some adversity. I'm sure they didn't feel good every game, but you couldn't tell when they were out there on the mound.
Did you do anything different this offseason knowing you had a shot in the starting rotation?
Not really. I'd like to think I worked just as hard last year. It was a lot of preparation. I got some innings in the summer and started some games. I felt like that helped me. I got back here and tried to throw as well as I could and work as hard as I could to get ready.
What are your overall expectations for the team in 2011?
Win a lot of games. We're just going to play one game at a time and see where that takes us.
Do you think about repeating as national champions at all?
You're always thinking about last year, and it was an amazing season we had. But you try and forget about that and focus on this year. It's always there in the back of your mind, but it's definitely not the priority. The priority is winning games.
Some have said a weakness of this team could be the rotation. What's your reaction to that?
I've heard that, but I feel like we have a bunch of guys who can step up and fill Blake and Dyson's shoes. We're definitely not as experienced as they are. But the right guys will step up and contribute.
What would it mean to be the opening day starter?
It would be a tremendous honor. I haven't heard anything about it yet. The coaches will pick the right guy to be out there.