Chat Wrap: Mark Marquess

Jan. 31, 2002

MarkMarquess: (12:58 PM ET ) Hi, this is Coach Marquess. I am here and ready to start taking questions.

Eric (New Orleans): Coach, tell me how you feel Tulane will fare after their CWS appearance last year, and how will LSU will fare under 1st year Coach Smoke Laval.

MarkMarquess: (1:00 PM ET ) I feel Tulane will field another strong team. The majority of their players off last year's squad were freshmen and sophomores. I expect them to be back in post-season play in 2002. Smoke Laval at LSU will do an outstanding job and even though legendary LSU coach Skip Bertman has retired, LSU's outstanding baseball program is in good hands with Smoke.

Brett (Scottsdale): Coach, the Pac-10 is always tough. Comment on how you see the conference shaping up, and, specifically, how do you assess Southern California's chances with the loss of Prior and Currier?

MarkMarquess: (1:02 PM ET ) I feel that the PAC-10 will again be very difficultwith four or five teams starting the season as favorites to win the PAC-10 crown.Those teams are USC, Arizona State, Cal, Washington and Stanford. As far as USC'schances are concerned, they are one of the favorites because they returned severalposition players and an outstanding Friday starter in Anthony Reyes.

DW Carmichael CA.: Coach, good luck this year. What is the key to keeping the kids focused on being number 1 at then end of the season? Go Cardinal!

MarkMarquess: (1:04 PM ET ) I don't believe there's anything special we do to stay focused on No. 1. In reality, I seriously doubt we will still be ranked No. 1 due to the non-league schedule we play. By opening up with Cal State Fullerton for three games, then traveling to Florida State and Fresno State, I doubt that we will be undefeated after those nine games. I do feel the key for our team is that we improve and by the end of the year heading into the post-season that we're a better team in May than we are in February.

Manny Curtis (Portland, Oregon): With all eight position players returning from the 2001 campaign, what is the mentality of the incoming freshman and how do they think that can contribute to this ball club in 2002? Thanks.

MarkMarquess: (1:05 PM ET ) I believe the freshmen players on this year's Stanford squad are all very talented. I believe they feel they can work their way into the starting lineup. They will put a lot of pressure on the nine returning position players to keep their jobs. I think the competition that will come from the freshmen will make our returning players that much more effective.

Ex-Grizzly, Medford: Do you think Jeremy Guthrie looks ready to repeatlast years excellent performance?

MarkMarquess: (1:10 PM ET ) Jeremy has looked very good in preseason practice. I feel that he is in better pitching shape than he was last year at this time. I look forward to him having another outstanding season.

Joe: Do you see any freshman position players ready to crack the starting line up yet?

MarkMarquess: (1:11 PM ET ) I feel that there are at least three of four freshmen players that have a chance to crack the starting lineup within the first 10 or 15 games. Probably at this point, Donny Lucy is in the best position to see action this weekend against Cal State Fullerton.

Jwan: Coach. I was wondering what your plans are for Ryan McCally? Watchedhim the past two years in Alaska and he looked quite good.

MarkMarquess: (1:12 PM ET ) Ryan will play an important role for us this season, either as a starter, middle reliever or short reliever. He has pitched extremely well in preseason workouts and will definitely pitch this weekend against the Titans.

New Orleans: how will you go about choosing you number three pitcher?

MarkMarquess: (1:14 PM ET ) I will not really decide on my third starteruntil probably early March because the first three or four weekends of the seasonnone of the starters will be able to go more than five or six innings, thus, Iwill be using a minimum of two pitchers each game with six or seven pitchers pitchingfour to five innings each weekend. At the conclusion of the first nine or tengames when the pitchers are in better shape to go more innings, I will decideon a third starter.

Brad (Selinsgrove): Mark, Do you like the new format for the College World Series with the new Super Regionals or do you think it allows more teams that don't necessarily deserve to be there a chance?

MarkMarquess: (1:13 PM ET ) I believe the new format for the NCAA Baseball Championships is a good one. With 64 teams in the first round of Regionals and 16 four-team Regionals and then a Super Regional with a best two-of-three, I believe the new format has increased interest in college baseball, and I feel that the new CWS format of the two winners playing the best two-of-three which begins in June 2003 will improve the championship in Omaha, Nebraska.

Little Jake (Chicago): Niner, do you think we will ever see Regional and Super-Regional games on TV? Keep the boys stridin' 'em. I'll see you in LA. Move the puppies!

MarkMarquess: (1:16 PM ET ) I believe one of the next things we need to do in college baseball to increase awareness and visibility for our sport is to have one or two of our Super Regionals televised. The Super Regional format should be attractive to television because there are only two teams and the times are preset. Hopefully, we can get local cable outlets or even ESPN to televise one or two Super Regionals this June.

Dan (Moses Lake, WA): What are your plans for Jason Cooper this season? Obviously his bat will be huge, but I was wondering if he will be mostly DH-ing or playing outfield for you. Also, what kind of weight program do you keep your players on during the season? Thanks...

MarkMarquess: (1:17 PM ET ) Jason will be a critical part of our offense, hitting in the middle of the order (either 3-4-or-5). He will DH, play left field or first base. He's an outstanding defensive leftfielder, so I would hope the majority of the time he can play in left.

Aaron: How do you think Ryan Garko will do this year? Will he continue to hit the way he finished last season?

MarkMarquess: (1:19 PM ET ) I believe Ryan will have another outstandingyear with the bat and behind the plate. I feel he will hit with even more powerin 2002. He is also very underrated as a defensive catcher. I consider him tobe one of the better defensive catchers in the PAC-10

San Diego: Coach, how has freshman Danny Putnam progressed? Is there a place for him in the outfield or at DH?

MarkMarquess: (1:20 PM ET ) Danny Putnam is an outstanding player and will definitely get some playing time in the outfield and at the plate. Unfortunately, Danny had a slight concussion two weeks ago and is just now getting back into playing shape, but even with the limited practice time, I'm sure he will get in a game or two this weekend against Cal State Fullerton.

Bo Leland (Stanford): Coach - What do you see as the most important attribute for a collegiate athlete playing at the level that Stanford plays at every year? Good luck with the rest of your season!! Go Cardinal!!!

MarkMarquess: (1:21 PM ET ) I feel one of the greatest attributes a player can have is his work ethic and his competitiveness.

Frank (San Jose,CA): Coach Marquess, congratulations on your team's pre-season #1 ranking. In addition to your program, several other schools in the bay area such as Cal and San Jose State have recently had good success record-wise. What are your thoughts on the current status of college baseball in the bay area? Thanks for chatting.

MarkMarquess: (1:23 PM ET ) I feel that Bay Area College Baseball is betterthan its ever been. Two years ago, San Jose State was at the College World Series.Last year, both Cal and Stanford made it to post-season play. Coach David Esquerat Cal was named PAC-10 Coach of the Year in 2001. The USF Dons upset Stanfordat Sunken Diamond last year. I feel that all of the college teams in the Bay Areahave outstanding coaches and excellent programs.

P.T. Campbell: Hi Coach, I was wondering what it takes to be a number one baseball team, whether you feel any additional pressure starting out at number one, and how you guys have battled the weather this past week leading up to opening day. And what about that J.D. Willcox fellow (my favorite player)? How is he looking now, and will we get to see him again this year? And will he just be pitching, or might we see him get a little outfield time? (I got to watch a few practices and he seemed very talented.) Good luck this weekend!!

MarkMarquess: (1:26 PM ET ) Obviously, being ranked No. 1 will mean thatthere will be a much higher expectation level on this year's team than last year'ssquad. JD Willcox will again play a key role in our success for 2002, being ourshort relief specialist out of the bullpen. JD is an excellent athlete but a lotof outfielders will have to go down before he gets out there in a game.

John (MD): Coach, what role do you see Darin Naatjes playing this year. A starter, reliever? And with the quality of our pitching staff, do you think he will see much time on the mound?

MarkMarquess: (1:28 PM ET ) Darin is a fantastic athlete who has seen limited playing time during his first two years on the Stanford Baseball team. This year, I am hopeful that Darin will help us on the mound. He has a tremendous arm and throws his fastball in the low 90's. He is a natural athlete who I feel will help our pitching staff this year. Each time he goes to the mound he improves. I will also use him as a backup outfielder and possible DH.

Josh (Orlando): Coach, every year your team takes about two weeks off in the middle of the season for exams (dead week). How do you feel this affects your teams momentum?

MarkMarquess: (1:30 PM ET ) I have often wondered about that myself. To be honest, I feel that it benefits our players due to the fact that it gives them a two-week break away from the rigors of being on the baseball field. We seem to play extremely well following that two-week break. I do not think it is a detriment to our success.

MarkMarquess: (1:31 PM ET ) Thanks for all your questions. I'm sorry I couldn't answer more. I've got to get ready for today's practice and the Cal State Fullerton games.
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