Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Looks like another contender in Columbia!

Chad Holbrook has introduced himself to Gamecocks fans as a head coach now, and we all like what we see.  Former Gamecock Assistant Jim Toman brought a VERY game Liberty squad to Columbia and the fans were treated to a competitive weekend.   Yes, there were a bunch of atypical errors in the field.  Yes, 

Carolina will have to get much better before the late spring and summer.  But overall you have to leave this weekend feeling pretty good about the 2013 YardCocks.  

This was never going to be an “easy” opening weekend.  Put aside whether or not you agree that Liberty is good (They are and the season will show that).  Friday afternoon was a day all about honoring the past.  So much emotion about Ray Tanner had to be processed and it was.  Combine all of that with the new pitching rotation and position players starting their journey to finding a new team voice and you see what they were facing.  

No more Roth.  No more Price.  No more Christian Walker.  And others.  You get the idea.  So we come out of that slate with 2 wins and a very tough 1-run loss.  I’ll take that.  Shoot it may be three or four more weeks before our legs are under us.  (If Jack Leggett has a brain of any kind he’ll take advantage of that but I digress)

This is not going to be Ray Tanner the sequel.  This is Chad Holbrook’s time and this is no easy gig.  When Coach Tanner took the program the wheels had come off and we were in an aging home run box at the Sarge.  We hadn’t won diddly in about 15 years and people had largely forgotten baseball.  Today, we all expect the diamond team to carry the water at USC, there is tremendous focus on our new facilities, and we have a ton of hardware and success. 

You either are stupid or have guts to want that responsibility.  Coach Holbrook is certainly no dummy.  He’s a winner and he has embraced the opportunity.  Good for him.  Guts may not be everything but sometimes it’s enough.  (I think I stole that from Full Metal Jacket or The Simpsons) 
The good news for Holbrook is that the Gamecocks have all the pieces as usual.  “Gumby” Montgomery has a rubber-band rocket of an arm and will be one of the Conference’s best Friday night aces.  We have lots of speed for the small-ball scoring and plenty of depth.  But as always the intangible of chemistry will decide how good we are and that has to play itself out.  If those pieces all come together into a nice finished puzzle we’ll be in Omaha again.  

Regardless, color me confident that the Chad Holbrook era will be viewed as a success when the books are written.  He’s the perfect guy to deal with all the good (and bad) that comes with following #1 at Carolina. 

It’s a great time to be a Gamecock!

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