First practices mean first impressions. New Alabama baseball coach Brad Bohannon and his coaching staff left their mark on Monday as the team began its first practice of fall as a full team.
“We know coach is pretty laid back but honest at the same time,” senior pitcher Jake Walters said. “It feels like it’s a fun atmosphere. I feel like they kind of allowed us to play a little bit looser.”
Bohannon and his three assistant coaches will spend the first part of fall practice learning about team and building an understanding of communication, terminology, the pace of practice and the principles of the game. They spent two hours on Monday at Sewell-Thomas Stadium working mostly through individual drills and will work up to scrimmages later this week.
Players took note of the optimistic approach Bohannon brought to practice. The new head coach has a word or phrase for the team before each practice. Monday’s was to have a “positive mindset.”
“I would hope that people say that we bring positive energy to the field,” Bohannon said. “We’re certainly not clowning around or anything like that, but the nature of our sport is that you can work really hard, concentrate at a really high level and have fun doing it.”
For Alabama’s juniors and seniors, Monday’s practice was the third different coaching staff they’ve started fall with. They’ve seen some differences over the last three seasons.
“The energy is always good on the first day, no matter who’s in charge,” second baseman Cobie Vance said. “I guess it didn’t feel like it was fake energy. It felt like it was real energy. That’s no knock on the old staff or anything, it’s just how we felt as players. We felt like we were kind of forced instead of just letting it flow.”
Junior lefty Dylan Duarte is expected to pitch later this week as he continues to recover from an elbow injury suffered late last year. Junior right-handed pitcher Brock Love and sophomore Garret Rukes are both on schedule with their rehab from midseason Tommy John surgery.
There’s still a long way to go before Bohannon has a feel for what the team could look like in spring, but Monday was a start.
“Coach Bo is going to get a lot out of us,” Vance said. “He’s going to push us. He’s going to push us to pretty much our breaking point but he’s not going to degrade us in any bad way. They’ll break it down and might tell you about something bad you’re doing, but it’s to lift us up, not to push us down.”
Practices and scrimmages this fall are free and open to the public. The team’s schedule will be posted its official Twitter and Facebook pages each week and updated if weather requires changes. Fans can enter the stadium at gate 3 at Sewell-Thomas Stadium behind home plate and sit anywhere in the lower bowl area.
Reach Ben Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org or 205-722-0196.
Tuesday: Practice – 2:30-3:45 p.m. | Scrimmage – 3:45 p.m. start
Thursday: Practice – 2:30 p.m. start
Friday: Practice – 2:30-3:45 p.m. | Scrimmage – 3:45 p.m. start
Saturday: Practice: 10:15-11:30 a.m. | Scrimmage – 11:30 a.m. start