Jaguars ready to put new look on the field

  • UHV Baseball ScrimmageWHO: vs. Alvin Community College

    WHEN: Tuesday, Oct. 26, 1 p.m.

    WHERE: Riverside Stadium

    WHAT: Two 7-inning practice games

University of Houston-Victoria baseball coach Terry Puhl directed Jeremy Urbano into the batting cage at Riverside Stadium.

"Step into my office," Puhl said. "We're going to build a swing."

Urbano and his UHV teammates received personal instruction from Puhl on Sunday during the first day of fall practice.

The pitchers will report on Monday as the Jaguars begin preparing for the 2011 season.

"This is a very good team on paper," said Puhl, who has coached the team since its inception in 2008. "If we can stay eligible and keep ourselves focused, this is, in my opinion, the best overall team we've had yet."

The Jaguars are coming off a season in which they overcame a dreadful start to advance to final round of a NAIA regional championship tournament in Fresno, Calif., before finishing with a 33-22 record.

The biggest difference this season will be the inclusion of freshmen, who were admitted to the school for the first time in the fall.

"It gives them a chance to get in a situation with a quality senior team," Puhl said. "It's an opportunity for me to put them out on the field. I don't expect any freshman to blow things away.

"What I expect them to do is to do the things I teach them. For the first year, I'm not really going to worry about their stats, I'm going to see if they can execute the right techniques."

Urbano started at second base for Memorial last season, and is thankful for the opportunity to play in his hometown.

"I know it's a big step from high school ball and hopefully these upperclassmen can teach me a thing or two," Urbano said. "I want to get everything down. I just want to do what coach tells me to do and try to help out the team."

Urbano is expected to be one of 15 freshmen on a roster that could number 34 players, the largest Puhl has ever carried.

Puhl said playing time will be determined by performance.

"Our No. 1 thing is you have to win ballgames," Puhl said. "We're going to see separation of talent as we go through the fall and as we get in the spring and we go in to a game situation.

"I will go through with those guys because I really believe this team can go through the second round of the playoffs."