Spending just 20 minutes with LSU baseball coach Jay Johnson, it's easy to see why athletic director Scott Woodward entrusted the program to the California wunderkind. He achieved levels of success at Arizona that program had never experienced before and in very little time, is instilling those practices in Baton Rouge.
The LSU fanbase is a passionate one and even though Johnson has been in Baton Rouge for just a few months, he's already feeling the excitement around the Tigers program and the direction its heading in.
"I love the support, I love how passionate everybody is about our program and it's exciting to be a part of building it back up," Johnson told LSUCountry. "I really enjoy the process of putting the pieces together, be it staff, players, building our process for developing the team and I've gotten myself entrenched in that and we're going."
LSU is currently in the development stage of its fall session and for hitters that means getting in the cages, fielding drills and working on their swings. For pitchers it's been about conditioning their arms so when fall practice does arrive, they're able to pitch seven or eight times.
The 45 day window of fall practice opens on Oct. 8 and will extend into the weekend prior to Thanksgiving, which has always been Johnson's favorite time of year. Until that time, it's all about putting the system in place to where the team can just go full throttle into fall practice.
"It's threefold, putting in our system relative to improvement, it's developing a foundation of winning baseball and it's learning our perssonel," Johnson said. "I love fall practice, it's my favorite time of year, that and the weeks leading up to the season because that's where we sink our teeth into getting our team ready and there's a lot of boxes to check."
Because he's a first year coach with LSU, Johnson wants to be methodical in the approach to installing his beliefs on a winning culture so everything won't be forced on to the players in the fall. It'll be a slow build to get the team where it's ready for opening day next spring, and that's just how he wants it.
One of the quotes that really stood out during Johnson's initial press conference back in July was the goal being for Louisiana, Baton Rouge and fans of the baseball program to be proud of the product on the field. Johnson talked in detail about the steps that need to be taken to get there.
"I think it's improvement on a daily basis. It's about not what we do but how we do it and that it's done with a high level of attention to detail, really strong work ethic and a commitment to being really locked into what's in front of us," Johnson said. "We can't win the first game right now, can't win an SEC road game right now. But what we can do is put the pieces in place to be prepared on game day.
"I really don't look too far ahead to that, I just want everybody to have the right piece of mind that the right things are happening in this building to get to that point."