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Clint Myers has Auburn softball on fast pace this fall
Sept. 16, 2014

Clint Myers puts his players through defensive drills Tuesday

By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala. -- They've erected netting beyond the outfield wall and across the service road to catch home runs. 
Had to. Auburn hit too many of them in the creek last season.
The suddenly hard-hitting and defensive-minded Auburn softball team returned for fall practice in earnest Tuesday in a more advanced state in the second year of the Clint Myers Era. 
"Last year," said 2014 team MVP Branndi Melero, "we were all pretty surprised at what to expect. But now, we know what he wants and what is expected of us."
Much has changed, now that Myers, who has nine softball and baseball national titles to his credit, is putting the Tigers on an accelerated pace after taking the Tigers to the NCAA Tournament last season.
"Last year, we had to say, 'this is a ball, this is a bat, this is a glove,'" Myers said. "Now, we're moving right along. When we say something it has meaning. Last year, it was a deer-in-the-headlights type of thing. 'What are you talking about?' 
"We're not spending a lot of time teaching. We're into the refinement. We're in the first day, and there's a lot of complexity being thrown out there. It's to stir the gray matter."
Melero says the Tigers understand.
"We're just picking up where we left off," she said. "It's important for us we get with the transfers and freshmen and make sure they're on board with what we're doing, and knowing we're going at a faster pace. It's our job to bring them up to speed with our practices."
Auburn finished with a 42-19 record last season, and Myers says the Tigers were within two misplayed balls of taking the next step to the College World Series. The Tigers set program records for home runs, runs scored and RBIs. 
Auburn also led the nation in fielding percentage and was second in doubles plays, and defense is something Myers stresses.
Auburn has seven newcomers, but the team largely returns intact. Myers said the newcomers, at least the freshmen among them, will have to play catch up.
"We can't slow down to teach you and let the 20 other people suffer," Myers said. "If you want to play, you'll understand. The freshman are forced to accelerate the learning process rather than we baby them. If you don't learn, you won't be out there, and everybody wants to be out there, so the learning curve is a lot quicker."
Already, "everybody is practicing at least two different positions, so we interchange people on whether we need to put the best defense or the best offense out there."
Auburn will play fall exhibition games in October, starting the 2nd.

Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at Follow him on Twitter:



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