Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco spoke with the media Friday at Tigue Moore Field prior to Saturday's 7 p.m. opener of the NCAA Super Regional in Lafayette, La.
Here are some notes from today's practice in Lafayette:
Bianco worked there from 1998-2000 and Robichaux was at McNeese from 1987-94.
While the two do know each other, they were in contact a good deal more when they were rising in the college coaching ranks in Louisiana.
“I probably had a little more contact with him 14-15 years ago when he was at McNeese and we had a home-and-home,” Bianco said. “The last time I talked to Tony was about his son (pitcher Austin Robichaux), making sure he was going to recruit him. If not, we were going to recruit him. He assured me that he would end up (at ULL). He's a great, great coach. He did a tremendous job at McNeese and here at Lafayette.”
* Bianco had his players do some extra drills Friday to grow more accustomed to ULL's FieldTurf playing surface, including some work on sliding.
“We've played over years on artificial turf, but it's a little more common to play on FieldTurf,” Bianco said. “My opinion is that ground balls are a little slower and certainly bounce true. One thing we saw at the end of practice is that you slide a little further. I don't want us to hit a double and slide past the base and steal and slide past. I wanted to make sure guys that have never played on this surface to be conscience of it. Aside from that, it's just like any other field we play on.”
* ULL has the reputation of a team that swings for the fences with a total of 66 home runs, but Bianco believes the Cajuns are a well-rounded squad.
“I think that's one of the misleading things,” Bianco said. “Statistically, offensively their numbers are off the charts with batting average, slugging percentage and home runs. What makes them special is they can run and bunt. When you look at the entire team, they have a very good starting staff and are deep in the bullpen. The defense catches it at .978, which is remarkable. Their pitching staff and defense are underrated.”