The Road to Omaha doesn't begin in the spring; coaches already are driving their players toward the College World Series. It's the rise-n-grind that players tweet about; it's the workout pictures that are shared on social media. It's the day-in, day-out work that coaches and players hope will separate their team in June. Before the first pitch in February, NCAA.com is highlighting teams that may reach the Mecca of college baseball: Omaha.

Houston Cougars
• 2014: 48-18 (14-9 AAC)
• Head coach: Todd Whitting (fifth year)
Cougars' team website

1. What can fans expect from this squad in 2015? Houston Baseball will play with a veteran club that has NCAA experience after coming off a Super Regional run a year ago. The team will compete day in and day out and continue to showcase energy, effort and attitude on and off the field.

2. What is the one thing that this year’s team does best? Our pitching staff will be our strength once again. We welcome back our entire weekend rotation and will enter the 2015 season with a lot of depth in our bullpen. We will throw strikes and pitch to contact and are looking forward to seeing what our staff can do again under pitching coach Frank Anderson.

3. Bottom of the ninth, tied game, two outs, winning run on second … which player does this team want to step up to the plate? Trust is a big part of our program. I tell the team constantly, that if I trust to put you in the lineup than I trust you to drive in the winning run if that time occurs.

4. If this team had one game to win, which pitcher would get the ball? Any of our three weekend starters will get ball. We are confident in our entire staff and we know that if they are put in that situation, they will compete to win.

5. Who are we most likely to see make a SportsCenter Top 10 play on this squad? Junior centerfielder Ashford Fulmer has made several web gem plays throughout his career at Houston and we expect that to continue. Here's an example.

6. What does Omaha mean to this team? Omaha is a end road to the process for which our team works towards each and every day. We focus on going 1-0 each day.

-- Houston head coach Todd Whitting

TOP RETURNING HITTERS
PLAYER AVG. G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI
Connor Hollis .321 30 106 15 34 4 0 0 8
Kyle Survance .308 65 253 53 78 11 2 2 32
Dalton DiNatale .298 65 248 36 74 15 0 1 31
TOP RETURNING PITCHERS
PLAYER ERA W-L SV IP H ER BB K CG
Jake Lemoine 2.97 6-8 0 106.2 98 34 29 87 1
David Longville 2.88 1-0 0 59.1 68 19 8 36 1
Aaron Garza 2.92 9-5 0 108.0 102 35 11 57 2