Jaguars begin drills at Riverside Stadium

Mike Forman By Mike Forman

Jan. 18, 2018 at 10:21 p.m.

UHV held its first practice on the new turf at Riverside Stadium on Thursday afternoon.

UHV held its first practice on the new turf at Riverside Stadium on Thursday afternoon.   Mike Forman for The Victoria Advocate

UHV coach Terry Puhl grew up in Canada so he was more than comfortable with the jacket he wore open on a chilly Thursday afternoon at Riverside Stadium.

The same could not be said for the players, who were as bundled up as they could be for the first practice of the spring semester.

"When you're growing up in 20-below and 30-below zero, when it gets to about 40, it's a nice day," Puhl said. "The players were pretty happy when I said it would be a light day. We'll throw a few balls and hit a few and get out of here for a warmer day."

The Jaguars were thankful to be back at Riverside Stadium for the first time since the new artificial surface was installed on the infield.

The old surface was ruined by the flooding of the Guadalupe River following Hurricane Harvey.

"I was walking on it and I could tell the difference from this turf and the last one," Puhl said. "It's a little cushioner. They'll have to get used to the ground balls too."

UHV was forced to conduct fall drills indoors, but the players are convinced they were able to accomplish what was necessary to be prepared for the Feb. 9 season opener against Trinity University at Riverside Stadium.

"I feel like if the guys want to work hard enough we'll find a way to get it done," said junior pitcher Tanner Knowles. "Given our circumstances, we did a pretty good job of making do with what we had."

Puhl was also satisfied with what he learned about his players during the fall.

"I kind of got in mind who is playing where because of fall and who is pitching," he said. "Now it's just getting them ready for the home opener and making sure we've got our work in.

"We had a couple of scrimmages (against Coastal Bend College)," he added. "When you have those scrimmages like we did, that really tells you a lot about your new players."

Knowles, a Katy Taylor graduate, pitched the last two seasons at Richland College, and is looking forward to playing with his new teammates.

"Coming from a junior college, you don't play with guys very long," Knowles said. "The guys here seem very comfortable with one another. I think our biggest thing is to try and find the team chemistry and learn to gel together. I think once we do that, we'll be fine and hard to beat."



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