Most coaches blow smoke in the preseason. It's in the job description. Some coaches, though, carry more weight than others when they do it. Like softball coach Ken Eriksen. In addition to being USF's longest-tenured coach in any sport and unquestionably its most successful, he's the current U.S. national team head coach, and he's headed into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame this year along with the entire 2004 gold-medal-winning softball team.
So when he said this back on January 17, we should have known that it could easily come true:
"They've got a great opportunity to make a lot of noise nationally this year... If we get the right bounces, we stay healthy, if we do the little things we do, the scoreboard's going to take care of itself. I don't think I have felt as confident in a group of young women to stay together as a team as I do this group in a long, long time. I think this team ranks up there on paper with all the great programs we've had. The pitching is deeper, the speed is better, the power is better, the personnel all the way down from the top to the bottom of the roster is better. On paper, we look great. We've got to translate that over to the end results."
I bet those paper tickets that say USF is hosting a Super Regional this weekend are going to look great, too.