Catching Up With Coach Scott Daeley
Jan. 17, 2014
ATHENS------Georgia resumes preseason practice on Jan. 24. Here’s the second in a series of interviews with the new coaching staff. Next up, hitting coach and recruiting coordinator Scott Daeley.
A native of Orange, Calif., he played collegiately at Cypress Junior College in California and then earned second team All-ACC honors during his career at Wake Forest. A 31st round draft pick of the San Francisco Giants, he spent three years playing professionally and then entered the coaching profession. He started out as a volunteer assistant at his alma mater before being named an assistant coach at Kent State in 2005. He spent nine years on Scott Stricklin’s staff before coming to Georgia this past June as assistant coach and recruiting coordinator.
As the hitting coach, what’s your message to the hitters, and what about bunting?
“Find a way to get on base, whether it’s a hit, a walk, hit by pitch, a bunt, or running hard and reaching on an error. It’s about scoring more runs without necessarily getting hits and ultimately having good at bats and hustling.
“We emphasized bunting, and it’s part of the game. We reinforced that during our fall scrimmages when we started off every inning with a bunt play or situation that might call for it. It’s not something I’d say we’re going to do a lot, but when we put it on, we want to be able to execute it.”
What did you think of the hitters during fall practice?
“First of all, we just watched them to see what they could do and how well that translated to what they would do in our scrimmages. We’ve got some talented hitters, and we’re looking to simplify things, like their approach to get them more consistent. I don’t think we looked at a lot of guys and said we’ve got to make a lot of changes. It’s all about having good at bats every game.”
If you had to pick one Bulldog who has the potential for a breakout season in 2014, who would that be?
“Zack Bowers has a chance to make a jump; he’s talented enough to do it. He’s adjusted his approach to be a tougher out and looks to be more consistent. Overall 1-9 in the order, we want to be a tough out, and I think we made strides in that department in the fall.”
You’ll be coaching 3rd base, what should fans expect when the Bulldogs have a chance to score?
“First of all, I trust my instincts. I think about where we are in the lineup, the number of outs and who is on base. You have to be aware of the situation. I know you get second-guessed a lot from fans, and I go back and replay it my mind too about what I could’ve done differently each game. I like to play over-aggressive, or to put it another way, to put pressure on the other team to make a play and not put it all on our next hitter.”
What attracted you to the University of Georgia?
“UGA is unique in that it’s one of the elite athletic programs in a great community to live for families. That’s a rare combination. You get to coach and compete in the SEC, which is the best in the country. There are no easy weekends. It’s going to be a huge challenge. That’s what makes it exciting, knowing you are going to be competing against the best coaches and players.”
What is one thing you are looking forward to this season?
“One of the biggest things I’m looking forward to is the atmosphere at all the SEC stadiums and playing at Foley Field. Everywhere you go in the SEC, you better bring your A game.”
How different is it recruiting in Georgia for the University of Georgia?
There’s plenty of talent in the state, and we’re looking to stay in state like we did with our first recruiting class. What’s great about Georgia is the number of players that grew up around the state, and it’s been their dream to come to Georgia. Ultimately, we’re looking to bring in baseball players who know how to play the game, play hard and compete every day. They’re good, and we want them to be great plus they want to go to college and play in the SEC.”
What about the recruits that are projected premium draft picks?
“That’s where it can be tough to balance your scholarships as far as who is going to come, who is going to leave early. You get 11.7 scholarships and 27 have to be on aid on your 35-man roster. We want to make sure the guys we go after we have a realistic shot at, and they want the challenge of playing in the SEC. You don’t win in the SEC without great players, and guys develop by playing in the best conference in the country.”
How have you and your family handled the move from Ohio?
“The adjustment to Athens has gone very well for my family. We have been very well received, and our two girls have settled in nicely. I know Scott (Stricklin) said he sold his snow blower to his brother, but my wife made me keep ours.”
What are your expectations for the 2014 team?
“I asked our guys about that, and I’m not one to set a goal like getting to a regional. I told them not to set a goal that’s to low or easy. What happens if your goal is to get to a regional and you do? Would you be happy if you just did that and then went 0-2? Our goal is to prepare and compete to the best of our ability each day, every week and then see where we end up after the season. I think we’re going to be a very good team, I like our team, but you’ll find every coach says that about their team this time of year.”
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