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Chad Holbrook Wraps Up 2015 Baseball Season With Final Press Conference

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Holbrook discusses the impact the draft will have on the Gamecocks, the struggles the team had at the plate, and working hard to make next season better.

TheBigSpur
On the disappointment of the 2015 season:

"As I sit up here today it's been a difficult week or so since we lost to Missouri in the SEC tournament. It's been a difficult time for me, as difficult as any time in my coaching career from a professional standpoint. Obviously we fell short of the goals we had this year for this team and obviously with the understanding of the expectations and traditions of South Carolina baseball and all the winning we've done around here it's been a difficult time for me personally and for our players and coaches as well."

On the offensive struggles:

"I've thought and thought long and hard about it. I know it's not because of the countless hours that they worked. I mean, Buscher was in those cages with them working on their swings hours upon hours...Sometimes hitting becomes very psychological. We had a number of guys who didn't quite hit from an average standpoint what they're capable of hitting. It wasn't because of work, it wasn't because of character, it wasn't because they didn't try their tails off. Sometimes this game can get you from time to time from a psychological standpoint. I think it snowballed on a lot of guys, I think they put a little too much pressure on themselves and sometimes in this game you can try too hard and it works against you. But as the coach I have to analyze if I didn't do enough and I'll look long and hard at myself in regards to that."

On the pitchers and the arm strength of the pitching staff:

"I'm gonna get that dadgum gun fixed out there on the scoreboard because it's wrong. I get a lot of feedback on that from a lot of different people...We'll get that fixed and it'll clear up some of that misinformation that we didn't have some arm strength on our team because we did. I like Clarke Schmidt and Brandon Murray's arms. Our pitchers are in great hands from a development standpoint."

On players leaving the program:

"Yeah we've had a couple leave the program and we may have a couple more. I'm not quite finished with all the conversations that I'm gonna have with our players that have eligibility to return. This is something that's not uncommon in college baseball when kids don't play as much as they would like to play...I have to be honest with my players and tell them what I see unfolding over the next college baseball season and then it becomes their decision...We could have a few more decide to transfer and I think that'll unfold over the month of June and the summer months."

On the draft:

"Well the draft is gonna affect our roster in a big time way next year. I don't know if we'll get either one of them [Wynkoop or Schrock] back. I think Jack [Wynkoop] is gonna be drafted in a position that's gonna be extremely enticing for him to sign a professional contract...We have a number of high school guys in the same boat...The draft is going to dictate 5 or 6 roster spots based on how things unfold...it's very, very unpredictable."

On Max Schrock:

"We've had some very long talks over the past couple of weeks and he has a strong desire to return for his senior year at South Carolina...I think the only thing that can talk him out of that and keep him from that is being drafted in an area or in a spot that's one that he can't turn down."

"Max is a terrific player. I have a really good feeling he'll come back and play his senior year here, but if he doesn't I'll be his biggest supporter for as long as he needs me around. He's a tough kid, he's played hurt...he's had some big moments. I hope selfishly that he comes back and that he can play all 56 games healthy and then everyone can see what type of player I know he is. And I think that's what he wants to do too."

On Kyle Martin:

"There were some good things that happened for our team this year. Kyle Martin returning for his senior year and was named to an All-American team today and I couldn't be more proud. He turned down a lot of money and came for his senior year to finish his degree and experience moments like that, being an All-American. And I'm sure he'd sit up here and tell you that his decision was well worth it even though our team didn't accomplish all that we wanted to accomplish."

"I think Kyle has put himself in a really, really good spot. I've talked with several organizations, you hate to predict the draft because it's very unpredictable, but I have a feeling he'll go inside of five rounds, based on what I'm hearing today. That would be terrific for Kyle, I think he'll play baseball a long time. He's a great defender, he keeps getting better at the plate offensively and he's got power...he'll keep playing baseball as long as he wants to play. He's got a bright future in pro baseball and I think he'll have a long career."

On Elliott Caldwell:

"I was proud of Elliott. He had a very, very solid year. He got off to a good start this year...he played banged up, he played hurt and he gave us everything that he had. He kept us in a position...to win some games because of his production. Elliott is a team guy first and...he's extremely upset that we're not still playing. He's got a big ol' heart on him and he didn't want his career to end. But he did all he could, he played his tail off all 56 games that I put him in there."

On Wil Crowe:

"Wil is working extremely hard, he's been here every single day. That's an injury and a rehab that you can't rush...Wil's future is important...and we can't rush him back. If that means that he's out all of next year then so be it, that means that someone else is gonna have to step up....I think his rehab is gonna go great. Then when he gets to that 10-12 month area, then I'll have to sit down with Wil and his family...Do we keep rehabbing and take it slow and redshirt next year and look to be the 2017 opening day starter or do we pitch him the last two and a half months of the season depending on when he's ready. We're nowhere near close to making that call."

On the freshmen:

"Well I've always liked my freshman class...those guys have bright futures here. They all have to improve, they all have to get better, they all have to grow up, they all have to mature, they all have to work extremely hard. But the talent, the toughness, the competitive spirit that they all have is very important. They're gonna play a very important role in getting us back to where we want to be. I have absolute confidence in them."

On his relationship with Ray Tanner:

Coach and I have had a lot of conversations over the course of the season and no one understands the rigors of SEC baseball like he does...We've been in those moments even in our great years when the season could have gone either way and we had tough guys and tough personalities that wouldn't let it go the other way. His understanding has given me comfort. That said, Coach Tanner is one of the more competitive people I've ever met, probably the most competitive person I've ever met, and he doesn't like the situation that we're in any more than I like it. He's tried to help me get my spirits up and he's probably the only one that has a chance to do that to be honest with you."

On changes to the coaching staff:

"As far as my staff, I have some great coaches and there's no plans for me to change my staff or do anything to make any changes...I have great coaches and they work extremely hard and they're great people."

On whether there are things that he could have done better as a coach:

"I'm my biggest critic. There's a lot of things, and when you have a season where things don't go your way, I think you have to evaluate yourself first...I felt like maybe I didn't allow my players to get as comfortable as I wanted them to be. Because you know we had some versatile guys and one thing that stands out to me is that maybe I moved guys around too much early in the year and they didn't get in a consistent rhythm of playing ball and getting consistent at bats. When you go 32-25 and I'm the one leading this program, I have to take responsibility for that. We have liked some of our players to perform better? Yes, and I wish I could have helped them perform better."

On whether he needs to change his coaching style:

"My first two years here I was extremely proud of...I'm not gonna let this one year define me. I've been lucky enough to be around some great players and great coaches and great teams. As I sit up here, heck, when I first got into coaching I just wanted to see what it was like to go to Omaha. I've been lucky to be there 6 times. I've participated in 5 national championship series...I've seen what it takes to get to the top, I've been a part of teams that've gotten to the top and I'm as confident as I can possibly be that I know what it takes to get there. Are there some tweaks I might make because of what occurred this year? Sure, but I'm not gonna overhaul who I am just because we had a tough stretch this year. I've been more successful than I've been unsuccessful....Yeah I'm disappointed as all get out with where we're sitting here right now, but I also know what it takes.

On what the offseason will be like:

"This offseason is gonna be different...When these players get back together I'm gonna do my damnedest from a preparation standpoint and practice standpoint and what we do in the weight room and a conditioning standpoint. If I've got a group of players that get back here in August and aren't ready to go to work then I've got the wrong kids in here and I don't think I do. I've got some really good hardworking kids and help is on the way in some new faces...There's gonna be a sense of urgency around here for sure and that's because of what we just experienced...Our players are gonna need to understand that what we just went through is not acceptable and I'm gonna try to make that as clear as I possibly can."

On looking forward to the 2016 season:

"With the end of one season you have to look forward and start thinking about your team for the 2016 season...We're gonna work tirelessly to be sure that when I'm sitting up here at this time next year we're getting ready to play a big NCAA tournament game and not wrapping up our season. That's gonna be our focus and our determination as we move forward into next season."