The energy surrounding Coach Todd Butler and the Wichita State Baseball team was evident at baseball media day. Butler and his Shocker baseball team are eager for the new season to start. They were picked first in the annual Missouri Valley Conference baseball preseason coaches poll and four Shockers earned preseason All-Valley honors.
"I think being picked first is because of the job that was done last year and all of our returning players," Butler said. "It's a good compliment and hopefully we will back it up as our season progresses."
Since taking over on June 15th, Butler has instituted a few changes but the uptempo practices are what they are enjoying the most.
"They've adapted well," Butler said. "I like 10-15 minute increments and we're recovering and reviewing as much as we can and then practicing two days in a row. There's not much standing around and it's baseball practice but I'd like it to be more like football. Where there's a horn and we are moving and shaking and rocking and rolling. They've done a great job adjusting and they know the practice schedule and understand the tempo."
The transition period from the Gene Stephenson era to Todd Butler is over. Butler has inherited an experienced squad with eight starters and 20 letterwinners on this squad.
"I've walked into a very good situation with many juniors and seniors from a team that went to a regional last year and had 39 victories so they have an understanding of what it takes," Butler said."
The potential suspensions still linger but the players and coaches are making it a conscious effort to put all of the adversity off the field behind them.
"We have not really discussed it," Butler said regarding his team. "You know there are challenges every year and...we just need to high step this and there are no excuses. Everyone is going to have to step and someone is going to have to step in."
One of the biggest changes Butler wanted to see was speakers throughout the stadium and he will get just that. He will also get a feel for what his team has to offer when the Shockers start the season on February 14 against SIU Edwardsville at 3 p.m. at Eck Stadium.