Q&A: Baseball Assistants

Feb 28, 2013

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When the Commodore baseball team opened its 2013 season on Friday, Feb. 15, against Long Beach State, Vanderbilt fans got their first look at a pair of coaches in their first official game wearing the black and gold. Commodore Nation sat down with each new addition before the official start of spring practice.

TravisJewettTravis Jewett was announced as the Commodores' hitting coach and recruiting coordinator on August 1 of last year. Jewett spent the past 11 seasons in the Pac-12 Conference, most recently as the associate head coach and recruiting coordinator at Arizona State.

Commodore Nation: You've been at Arizona State the past three years. Are you a west coast guy originally?

Travis Jewett: I'm actually from even further west. I'm from Tacoma, Washington, born and raised. I coached at both Washington and Washington State, and my wife's from the northwest, too.

Nation: What made you look at coming to Nashville?

Jewett: Vanderbilt, Coach Corbin. I was fortunate to kind of have begun some communication with Coach Corbin [after] a good friend of mine was on his USA staff. I would stay in touch and always watched Vanderbilt from afar. I'd heard so many good things about it from people that had been around here. When the opportunity arose it made you scratch your head and think about it. Obviously, you see what choice we made.

Nation: Will your west coast ties change our approach to recruiting?

Jewett: Not really. If you look at the roster now, the lay of the land has been that there's no place too near or far. We have a kid from Oregon on our team right now, Tyler Campbell. I just think it's about the right fit--ability-wise, character-wise, academically. California, Washington, to south Florida. Wherever. And Vanderbilt has such a good reputation, obviously, for its academic standards, but also the guy two doors down (Coach Corbin). So people see Vanderbilt as a destination spot for academics and the best baseball in the country, so it's a nice sell.

Nation: What is your approach to hitting?

Jewett: Practice real baseball. My wife calls me a caveman--meat and potatoes, put ketchup on everything, so to speak.... Does the tee work for hitting? More for warming up and doing things before I show up. Maybe for working on a body position or something like that. But in terms of the SEC or the Pac-12 or whatever league at this level, it doesn't just sit thigh-high right over any third of the plate. It's got velocity, it's got movement, those types of things.
Trying to put [the hitters] in as much of a game-like environment as possible. Creating a system that we call around here, "checks and balances." You can't do it all. You can't guess on five pitches that he's got in his arsenal and think you're going to hit them if you just stride and try to swing at the same time. Have a clear plan. If we're executing our plan accordingly, whether we succeed or not, they're going to get praised for it.
I like my players, like being around them. And I think they know that we're in this together.

ScottBrownScott Brown was named Tim Corbin's second pitching coach on Nov. 13. Brown spent nine successful seasons in a similar role at St. John's before making the move to Nashville.

Commodore Nation: You were hired after fall ball ended. How has the transition been? Scott Brown: I actually spent a couple of weeks here in November and early December just trying to learn as much as I possibly could about the guys: personality, skill set, work ethic, that type of stuff. We've just hit the ground running in the spring. There's really no time; you just have to go with it and learn on the fly. We've been doing a pretty good job with that.

Nation: Has your family joined you in Nashville yet?

Brown: They got here about a week and a half ago. My son is ecstatic. He's just loving Nashville. He's going to school at Woodmont Christian, and he's been to practice a few times. My two daughters--twin girls--are starting to finally sleep at night. My wife is really happy here and feels very comfortable.

Nation: What made you want to come to Vanderbilt?

Brown: Coach Corbin: the culture that he presents here really piqued my interest. At St. John's, there were some opportunities to make some moves during the tenure, but I just never really felt 100 percent comfortable with the place to live, to raise my family, or the culture. St. John's was really a great place to work and I really enjoyed working with Coach [Ed] Blankmeyer and the staff, but when I came down here for the interview, I just felt great about it. I felt like it was the right place at the right time and the right situation for my family.

Nation: What is your coaching philosophy with pitchers?

Brown: We're going to do whatever it takes to make the individual pitcher better. And I really stress "individual," because I think every pitcher is different. We have 16 different pitchers on the staff, we'll have 16 different, individual plans. So I'm almost like a pitching coach for every one of them rather than the coach of a staff. The philosophy is real simple. We're just going to do what it takes to make that individual better so that they can reach their goals--because everybody has personal, individual goals--and ultimately win as many games as possible.

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