Will Allen returns to lead the Rebels behind the plate in 2014 and plans to recapture sophomore success.
by Wesley Boock Athletics Media Relations Student Assistant
Jan. 27, 2014
Coming off the program’s 11th NCAA Tournament appearance in Mike Bianco’s 13-year tenure, the Ole Miss baseball team is gearing up for the upcoming season in hopes of making noise in the 2014 campaign.
In order to achieve the team’s goals, the Rebels will rely on veteran experience from their senior leaders. Senior catcher Will Allen looks to resume duties as the Rebels’ everyday catcher in 2014, a position that was secured by All-American Stuart Turner a year ago.
Last season Allen was third on the team in homeruns (4) and started 56 games primarily as designated hitter. As a senior, Allen will hold the responsibilities of managing the pitching staff, as well as knocking in runs from his spot in the middle of the lineup.
Last season Allen was able to pick up some things from Turner, the 2013 Johnny Bench Award winner.
“Stuart went about everything the right way,” Allen said. “The way he handled the pitching staff and his level of consistency showed me and Austin Knight (Jr., C) a lot.”
Now, it is Allen’s turn and he has every intention of doing things the right way and producing at a high level. However, this role will not be new to him as he started 56 games his sophomore season at catcher with much success. Allen hit .302, drove in 24 runs and recorded a .987 fielding percentage.
“I am not going to hit a ton of ground balls and beat out infield hits,” Allen said. “My job is to get guys in and produce runs. I look for a pitch I can drive in the gap to get the leadoff men home. My job is to do whatever it takes to move guys home.”
Allen and hitting coach Cliff Godwin have tried to make things philosophically simple. He admits that this makes it easier on him, knowing he is on the same page as his coaching staff.
“Coach Godwin does not care about batting average, just producing and scoring runs,” Allen said. “When you know what the coaches expect of you and what you expect of yourself, it makes it easier,” Allen said.
With a mixture of experience and young talent, Allen feels that this year’s team can surprise some people and make a postseason run.
“We have a great group of young guys, along with the veterans that have been here for a while,” Allen said. “We fully expect to make a run regardless of what others think. Our goal every year is to host a regional, host a super regional, make it to Omaha and win a national championship.”
Allen feels that this year’s Rebel squad will soon reap the benefits of the time and effort they have put forth.
“We have worked harder than any other team in the country, physically and mentally, and we plan to start and finish the season strong and eventually reach our goals.”
Allen is excited to recommence a familiar role, and the Rebels’ success will be highly dependent on his experience, leadership and production.
Ole Miss will begin the 2014 season with a three-game series at Stetson on February 14 with a 5:30 p.m. CT first pitch. Stetson returns nine total starters, including pitchers, from a team that finished 26-31 a year ago and finished 5th in the Atlantic Sun Conference.
UPDATE: Tuesday at 1:30 p.m.Here are more of Coach Freeze's interviews in Bristol. Scroll down to the earlier post to hear him on Ivan Maisel's podcast. Listen: Freeze on the Paul Finebaum Show Listen: Freeze on the Freddie Coleman Show... read more
All 14 Southeastern Conference football coaches will travel to ESPN's annual mid-summer football coaches "car wash" - in which guests appear across multiple programs and platforms over one day - at ESPN's Bristol, Conn., headquarters on Monday and Tuesday. Ole... read more
Ole Miss took its turn at the annual SEC Media Days on Thursday. Joining head coach Hugh Freeze was senior quarterback Bo Wallace, junior defensive end C.J. Johnson and senior safety Cody Prewitt. Here are a few related SEC Media... read more
Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze said on day one that his expectations were to make the program relevant in the Southeastern Conference Western Division. With a full allotment of 85 scholarship players and more depth of both sides of... read more
Once overshadowed, Wallace now finds himself more firmly in the spotlight after the departure of seven of the league's eight top passers. The dean of SEC quarterbacks, Wallace is the league's leading returner in total offense, passing yards and passing... read more
Before taking his turn at the podium in the main room at SEC Media Days on Thursday, head coach Hugh Freeze met with members of the Ole Miss local media and addressed a wide variety of topics. Here are some... read more
Ole Miss will take its turn at SEC Media Days on Thursday. Here are a few links to stories of interest for Ole Miss fans from Day Three of SEC Media Days, which featured Steve Shaw (SEC), Justin Connolly (ESPN),... read more
Ole Miss will take its turn at SEC Media Days on Thursday. Here are a few links to stories of interest for Ole Miss fans from Day Two of SEC Media Days, which featured South Carolina, Mississippi State, Texas A&M... read more
NFL.com CFB 24/7 has counted down the 14 college football players to watch -- and some other college football topics -- in varying categories in 2014. Below are the highlights for Ole Miss and the link to the complete 14... read more
Ole Miss will take its turn at SEC Media Days on Thursday. Here are a few links to stories of interest for Ole Miss fans from Day 1 of SEC Media Days, which featured SEC commissioner Mike Slive, Auburn, Florida... read more
Former Ole Miss player Zack Cozart, now a member of the Cincinnati Reds, was named the best defensive shortstop in baseball for the first half of the 2014 season. ESPN Insider Scott Spratt selected one player from either league at... read more
The Season: Ole Miss Baseball: Omaha Bound from Ole Miss Rebels on Vimeo. Chapter 1: Regionals from Ole Miss Rebels on Vimeo. Chapter 2: Super Regionals from Ole Miss Rebels on Vimeo. Chapter 3: CWS Games 1 & 2... read more
Three student-athletes and the head coach of each of the 14 Southeastern Conference football programs will participate in SEC Football Media Days, July 14-17, at the Hyatt Regency Birmingham - The Wynfrey Hotel in Hoover, Ala.Ole Miss will take its... read more
Ole Miss head coach Andy Kennedy talks about the addition of assistant coach Tony Madlock and the new-look roster for the upcoming season, among other topics, on the SEC Summer Men's Basketball Coaches Media Teleconference Monday. Here are the highlights:Ole... read more