Perno under siege again: 'Unfortunately, I've been here too many times'

semerson@macon.comMarch 20, 2013 

ATHENS - There's no use hiding how much the Georgia baseball team is struggling so far this year. There's also no point ignoring that head coach David Perno's job may be on the line.

The Bulldogs are now 8-13, having lost yet another mid-week game Tuesday night, this time to Furman. And they're 0-3 in the SEC play entering this weekend's series against Alabama. There's plenty of baseball to be played, but Perno's team was only picked sixth out of seven teams in the SEC East in a preseason coaches poll.

Perno, who is in his 12th season as head coach of his alma mater, has been here before, as he brought up on Wednesday when asked if he's aware of the "noise" among fans about his job.

"I can't (worry about it). You can't control it. I mean they wanted me fired in '04. They wanted me fired in '05, they wanted me fired in '07. And we've always answered the bell," Perno said. "It comes with the territory, that stuff. Obviously if you worry about that you're not doing your job. That's the only thing that's on my mind."

Perno was told he didn't seem resigned to anything, even while everyone else may be on the verge of writing off Perno and his team.

"Unfortunately, I've been here too many times," said Perno, whose career record at Georgia is 377-316-1. "That's why I guess you'll hear the rumblings and all that. But in 2011, we were 3-8, turned that around. Even after we turned that around and got to .500, we teeter-tottered all year. We couldn't win a mid-week game, we got beat by Mercer the last mid-week game of the year. And they thought we were dead and gone, and then we go to the SEC tournament and we beat Auburn, South Carolina and Florida - who by the way played for the national championship that year. We beat those three teams in consecutive days to get into a regional.

"So you can't (be resigned to your fate). And it's hard, trust me, it's hard, you wanna get uptight and you wanna push harder, but it's not the way you do it. You've gotta draw back, and trust what you got, and have faith in them and they'll respond."

Perno has guided the Bulldogs to three College World Series appearances (2004, 2006, 2008) and the Bulldogs were in the championship series in 2008.

They've won two SEC championships (2004 and 2008), and been to the NCAA tournament six times. But the Bulldogs have missed the NCAAs two of the past three seasons, and this year isn't looking too good.

"There's nothing you can change, record-wise, what has happened, transpired," Perno said. "But what you can change is tomorrow."

And to that end, Perno isn't planning any major changes, citing the need just for more timely hitting, and better pitching early in games. Players have also called two players-only meetings in the past week.

"Still believe. I trust them," Perno said. "We just haven't done much, and we're gonna start doing more. We've got a better team than we've played (like) up to this point. And at some point it'll come out."

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