Tuesday, August 21, 2012

SxSE: Coach Mike Bianco's Ole Miss Rebels

Recruiting footprint:  Based on recent rosters, Bianco tends to recruit from Mississippi, Louisiana, Florida, California, Tennessee, Georgia, Virginia, Texas, plus random players from TN, PA, AR, IL,and OH.

Rebels’ Bianco reflects: ‘Sunday hurt a lot’ (djjournal.com, 6/15/09)
How would you assess your coaching philosophy, and has that changed through the years?

The philosophy in general is we want to score runs. Personnel changes from year to year. As a coach you try to coach to players’ talents and what they can do. There are years that we’ll hit more home runs. There are years that we’ll bunt better. This team probably hit as well with runners in scoring position and were able to put innings together better than teams that I can remember in the past. The 2006 team was very good at that. Even though we didn’t hit the home runs as we did in 2005, they were able to score more runs than the 2005 team. It just depends from year to year.

On the 2005 team, we were fortunate that we had three guys in the middle of the lineup that were older, that were having really good years. When you look at that team it was Stephen Head, Brian Pettway, Mark Wright, three guys in the middle who hit double-digit home runs and all had terrific years. Two of them were high draft picks. Then you had guys sprinkled in that hit five or six. They hit the most home runs we’ve ever hit here, but they only hit 74.

My days at LSU, we hit a lot of home runs, but so did everybody else. That was back in those years with the minus-5 and bigger barrel bats. In 1997 we hit 188 home runs, Alabama hit 150-something and Florida hit 130-something. Everybody hit more home runs back then.

Another thing, when you look at the park we play in, it’s not real conducive to home runs. We want to hit more. I’d like to hit more than we hit this year. But last year we hit the second-most that we’ve ever hit here, and nobody talked about that.
. . .
A (somewhat) level-headed look at Mike Bianco, Ole Miss baseball (bleacherreport.com, 6/8/09)
Bianco’s teams are now 0-6 in home games that would send them to Omaha. Whatever approach he is taking to loosen guys up is obviously not working.

This team—with all their antics and carefree attitude—played tight yesterday, even with an early lead.

Bianco’s typical stubbornness with starting pitchers cost the Rebels yesterday as he stuck with Nathan Baker far too long.

Baker wasn’t pitching poorly, but his painfully slow delivery plus UVA’s speed on the basepaths and Kyle Henson’s “arm” was a recipe for disaster.

UVA’s starter was pulled early because he was struggling. Bianco should’ve taken the hint and pulled Baker as well.

The small ball he tried this season doesn’t work well unless the players are skilled at sacrifice bunting.

It’s tougher than looks—keeping the head of the bat up, coming back at just the right time to deaden the ball, and placing it just right—but practice makes perfect. Something needs to improve in that skill-set or the small ball just won’t work.

They say once is an accident, twice is a coincidence, and three times is a trend. It’s hard to not feel that way watching another Oxford Super Regional go the way of the visitors.

Next year’s Rebels will be another top 10 quality team and will have a legitimate shot at another Super Regional. Will it finally be the year Bianco and his Rebels break through? Or will be just another disappointment for Rebel fans?
♦ A less friendly look at Mike Bianco's coaching, from a fan at RedCupRebellion.com:
Q: What do you expect to see from this baseball team, not from a record standpoint, but in style of play, etc?

astaylo1: Bianco is still the coach, So I expect us to continue to not have a clue what our style is and for it to change inning to inning. I fully expect to see us bunting after 2 walks to lead off a game and then to have Matt Snyder trying to straight steal second in the 9 th when we are down 2 runs. I expect to see us make pitchers throw 22 pitches to get a 1-2-3 inning and the next throw 6 to do the same. I expect to see pitchers get up and sit down in the bullpen no fewer than 4 times in a game. I expect us to shift our defence to play a hitter to pull and then have the catcher call a fastball on the outer half. Why do I expect these things? Because I have watched MB do them all for the last 8 years. Because, while amazing at many things, Bianca is a below average on field game day coach. I hope I am wrong and we win despite these things. Here’s to hope, and it continuing to spring eternal.
@CoachMikeBianoc on Twitter

♦ And a quick (and odd) look at Assistant Coach Cliff Godwin:

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