June 4, 2009
Arkansas Head Coach Dave Van Horn
"I appreciate the opportunity to be in another Super Regional, this is the fifth time for me, second on the road. We've had a roller coaster season, we started off very strong. We didn't really put in on anybody, a lot of close games if you look at our scores throughout the season. I think we had 25 or 26 one or two run games. We really went into a little bit of a tailspin in the last three weeks in the SEC. There were a couple of reasons, we didn't hit and we had to go to Alabama who can really hit and we had Ole Miss and LSU so we had to finish with some pretty good opponents. Once the regular season ended it was almost like a new beginning for our team."
On traveling to Tallahassee
"We feel very fortunate to be here. I've had a lot of people asking me if you think you deserved the regional at home and honestly no, Florida State played better than us throughout the year, they had a better record, and they were a higher seed. I would have liked to play at Baum Stadium in front of our fans, but the NCAA did the right thing and this is where we should be and we're glad to be here."
On beating Washington State after trailing 3-1 in the bottom of the eighth
"I made the comment that was two months of frustration. We couldn't get a big hit to save our lives and we couldn't find a way to lose early [in the season], we kept finding ways to win. For six weeks it was tough and we just tried to stay positive with the team and kept telling them we know it's in there, you're better than this, you're facing a lot of great arms. This game, it'll beat you up if you let it and we stayed strong and stayed the course, we didn't beat them up. We were so frustrated, the whole team was frustrated ... we got whipped a couple of games, but we also lost six out of eight one run games down the stretch to some good teams.
On his reaction to Florida State's 37-6 win
"We hadn't played yet and we knew that if we won the game we'd be heading there and I was just hoping that they'd score about 100 and get them all out of their system. It happens; that happened to me at Nebraska one year. We scored 50 runs on a team and we only played five innings and I played everybody I had. I played all the seniors that got beat out by my sophomores. It was my second year there, and when my seniors got in the game they wanted to prove a point. Everybody in the lineup had four or five hits. I wouldn't let them score from second base on a ball in the gap. It was ridiculous and I didn't know what to do. I felt terrible; I got calls all week. We wouldn't even run on a passed ball. It was against Chicago State, who's not nearly as good a team as Ohio State, but it is not a good feeling, it's uncomfortable. You respect the other team, the man in the dugout and what do you do, you can't tell your kids to go up there and make an out."
On the make-up of his team
"We don't have one player on our team that made all-conference in the SEC, first or second team. When you look at the stats, there are some guys that are better than their stats and it just didn't happen in league play or the season. Our team is a very good character team; we've got a bunch of good people on our team. They believe in each other and I don't know if we'll be good enough to handle this weekend, but I guarantee you they do play hard and that's all we've told them, especially during the bad times, just don't quit."
Florida State Head Coach Mike Martin
"When we were [in Arkansas] in 2004, that was a classy group of folks. We obviously didn't have that much fun when we got back on the plane, but we were treated royally and I've always appreciated the way that the University of Arkansas treated us that weekend. It was an exciting weekend, an unbelievable atmosphere and you've really got things going over there and it's been fun following your career from Nebraska."
On any similarities between the two teams
"There are a lot of similarities, especially if you look at the pitching numbers. They have an experienced staff. With their relievers they are never out of a ballgame. They played as good as a schedule as anybody in the nation and they lined up with some very good people and of course the league that they play in is extremely difficult."
On the team's offense
"We've tried to be a club that is disciplined. We've tried to be a club that goes the other way if the opportunity presents itself. We've just tried to be a team that prides itself on making the other club beat you and that of course is extremely difficult on this level because of the newness of players. It had just been a fun year in watching the players develop and try to conform to the system."
On how the team got things going after a slow start
"The fact that the players bought into the changes and really worked hard. Dave [Van Horn] touched on the fact that [Geoff] Parker and [John] Gast go to the bullpen. They didn't go down there and have a pity party, they went down there with the understanding that maybe I can help the club more down here than I am helping us right now. Stephen Cardullo goes to short and works and works and works and becomes a pretty good short stop. We knew some changes had to be made, but we didn't know that they would be solutions, we just made some changes and the young men are the ones who deserve the credit. They're the ones who got it done with a positive attitude and great character."
On the keys to the series
"I think it's the same old clichés, I really do. It's the team that makes the quality pitches when they need to be made and the same old clichés. I think if I tried to go beyond that, it's just the most unpredictable game that we have, this game of baseball. It's best game in the world, it's just an amazing mental game that we play. There's nothing like it."