Monday, August 31, 2009

Week Three! 8/31/09

The countdown begins. 5 days and several hours until my butt will be in the seats at Jordan Hare Stadium. Am I nervous? You bet I am. My stomach is in knots as I write this week’s blog. Matt is going to be kicking in front of 92K. 97% of them rooting agianst him. As I close my eyes on his first kickoff of fieldgoal, I am sure I will be peeking with one of them. I am not sure I am totally prepared for all of this, but I been practicing wearing two set of drawers. Two weeks of practicing this and it still feels weird. I have been to Jordan Hare Stadium once before. My brother & I went to see FSU play Auburn in 1987. Our tailgating food consisted of Miller Lite and Cashews. It is an awesome stadium and campus. I have been making my list and checking it twice. I am sure I will forget something. We are headed to Troy, AL for a couple of days to hang out with some of my parents friends on Thursday. Jim & Jean Mueller have a home outside of Troy and they are opening their home up to us during this road trip. My parents are coming up from The Villages, FL and my brother is coming up from Tampa. Tyler and a few friends are coming over to Auburn on the day of the game. Our family will be well represented as we root La Tech on. The game starts at 6:00PM CST, so we will have plenty of time early Saturday morning to stake out a place to set up camp for the day. The coolers will be filled with our favorite beverages. The grill will be ready for the brats, dogs and burgers. Chips, dips and cashews will will keep the party going. In the sporting world, going into the home team’s backyard can be somewhat intimidating. I hope we get to meet some cool, football loving fans. One of my good friends in the travel business is a big Auburn fan and will be at the game. I am sure we will share and adult beverage or two. Matt has had a good week. They had good scrimmages Monday and Tuesday. Tuesday night's scrimmage ended the two a day workouts. The scrimmage Wednesday night will have a mock game. They will practice everything just like a game. They will go through pregame warm-up, pregame prayer, sideline adjustments and substitutions. Coach Dooley said that this signifies the end of training camp and beginning of the season. I really like the process that Coach Dooley goes through. Matt worked on his right to right and his right to left this week. Matt's kickoffs and field goals were spot on for most of the week. He was not happy with a few of his kickoffs, but overall he is super excited for Auburn. The team has been staying in a dorm across the street from the athletic facility. On Thursday they dispersed from the dorms and moved into University Park apartments. Some of the seniors and juniors stay off campus and rent houses. University Park is right across from the baseball field and you can still see the football stadium. Matt is staying in a 4 bedroom, 2 bath apartment with 3 other incoming freshmen. Doak Raulston, Vince Cano and Matt Shepperd will be Matt's roomies this year. They are staying on the 3rd floor. Matt & Matt are staying upstairs and Doak & Vince are downstairs. They have a kitchen and living room with this huge Texas flag on the wall. All 4 of these guys are from Texas. Pretty sweet! The team had the weekend off and had a team dinner on Sunday night. This allowed him time to bond with his team mates and get focused for Auburn. Monday morning will bring the game week into perspective. It will be meetings film and practice. Let the games begin! I promise to give you a drawer count after the game is over. Auburn is in my horizon and I cannot wait. Pop's is still very nervous. The game is on ESPNU at 6:00 CST. I hope you get to watch. Until our paths cross again, I hope you have a blessed week. College Football Dad!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Week Two! 8/24/09

Week two has almost come to a close. Auburn is less than 13 days. Are you kidding me? I have been to many big time college games and stadiums, but not to watch your son preform on the field in front of 92K. I am very proud of his accomplishments on and off the field, but what book was I supposed to read to prepare me for this phase of his life? I am totally amazed how regimented college football is. I mean I knew, but I really had no clue. They are up early in the mornings for workouts and practice. They have position meetings everyday. They practice and scrimmage in the late afternoons and evenings. I recall Matt saying that they are now on Coach Dooley's schedule and the only thing that is not is when you need to take a crap. Coach said he could not control that. I have to mention something that I think is very funny. This has happened several times to Matt so far. He goes out to get in his car and his car is missing. In the beginning he thought it had been stolen, but in reality 6 to 8 of his very cool team mates are picking his car up and moving it to another parking spot. Who knows how many more times this will happen, but I think it is a hoot. I talked to Matt Monday night and he was happy with how thing went during the scrimmage. He was 5 for 5 with a long of 50 in live situations. His kickoffs were average in his book. I am sure they were just fine. Tuesday morning was photo day along with all of the other stuff they do. They took team photos and individual photos. I can't wait to see them. I did not talk to Matt on Wednesday, but from the quote that Coach Dooley gave in one of his many interviews, I would say that he is doing OK! Kicking in: Dooley said recently freshman kicker Matt Nelson has shown a lot of good things during the early practice sessions."We have a chance to be better than we have been since the really good kickers who've been in our program," Dooley said. "He's everything we'd hoped he'd be." Man, if that does not make you have a lump in your throat, I don't know what will. Practice and scrimmages continued on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. I did not talk to Matt on Friday, but heard that he was not happy with some of his kickoffs and a couple of his field goal attempts. I am OK with him being upset! To be the best at something, you must continue to push yourself and never be satisfied! When I talked to Matt early this afternoon, he had just finished a meeting where they were working with certain offensive and defensive players who have the possibility to be interviewed after a game or during the week for an upcoming game. I guess there are certain things you can and can not say. This is really cool that Matt was one of those players. They have a scrimmage tonight where they will practice live situations with only 4 minutes being left in the game. Some situations they will be ahead and some they will be behind in live mock game situations. For those of you who are wondering, I am not giving any super secret information. Maybe some inside information on my feelings. All of this information is available to the public at the La Tech Athletic Site and the Shreveport Times. I am waiting for Matt to call me this evening and let me know how it went. About 7:54 PM I got a call from Matt. It goes like this, "Pop's, I had a bad night!" Ok, what does that mean? " I went 3 for 3 with a live rush and my kickoffs were 3.99 hangtime on average, between the seven & four yard line with some wind in our face." Sounds good to me, what is the problem? "I am just stoked that we as a team had a good night" "My long was 48 yards with 3.2 seconds to go in the game" Coach Dooley was excited! "It was open practice so there was a lot of fans there" Here are Coach Dooley's comments after during an interview after the scrimmage. "Freshman kicker Matt Nelson went 3-for-3 on field goal attempts including a 48-yard field goal made kicking from near the left hash mark. "I thought the offense did a nice job on the last drive of the scrimmage," commented Dooley. "Up 17 [points], they took it all the way down and kicked a field goal to win the game. Matt Nelson continues to show that he has a chance to be a very good kicker here at Tech, going 3-for-3 with two game-winners. OK, I am needing a ton of underwear for the season. Care packages are very much needed! This is so cool! La Tech is going to turn some heads this year! There is a picture that I have in this blog that is a series of numbers. I am a believer in numbers. Matt, Tyler and I have this strange phenomenon that happens quite often. We see the number 619 (Pop's DOB) often and randomly. It could be forwards, backwards, on a clock, license plate or on TV. It just does not matter, it shows up daily in most cases. I happen to be checking things out at the Tech Team Shop They have a counter counting down to the Auburn kickoff. When I got on the page it said 16 days, 19 hours and 33 minutes. This is very cool so I did a print screen so I could send it to Matt. What I did not realize until I looked at the screen capture was the seconds were at 48. Oh my gosh! What does this mean? Well we have the number 619, 33 is Matt's La Tech number and 48 was his high school number. This is a real screen capture. This is why I believe our numbers are aligned. Weird right? I can't wait for week 3 to get here. I have been trying on multiple pairs of underwear this just to see what it feels like. It feels pretty strange! I know I am going to need several pairs during the Auburn game. I am not going to lie! Pop's is really a nervous wreck. Our journey to Auburn will start in less than 2 weeks. Until we visit again, have a blessed week. College Football Dad!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Week One! 8/17/09

Well Pop's has made it through week 1. He is there, I am here and she is up there. What that means is we are currently living in 3 places until our house sells and then two of us will be living together. Janet works in Dallas, Matt goes to school in Ruston and I work in San Antonio. I decided early on that I would be there for Matt when he wanted me to, but would stay behind the scenes and leave him be. I did not say Janet agreed to this, but I did make that agreement with myself. Matt needs to experience college and football life without Pop's calling everyday. He know's my number, email address, business, Facebook name, and my Twitter name. I am very easy to find. Week 1 is complete and I know my anticipation of what was going to happen has been answered. Not only does he workout a lot, he has lots of meetings everyday. As an incoming freshman I guess you have to attend mandatory meetings on NCAA rules and such. Wednesday evening they had a scrimmage and Matt was 3 for 3 on field goals. Wow! He must have ice water in his veins. I did get a call that night around 11PM and Matt said one of them was close to being blocked, but he still got it off. I know that Ross has been spending most of his time taking QB reps, so the timing from holder to kicker was a little off. They just need to spend more time on it before the season opener. Matt also said he did not get his good pop on the ball. Lets get real, this was his first live rush. I would be on my second pair of undies. After the scrimmage they each are given a large Papa John's pizza and some energy bars and head back to the dorm for lights out. Why did they not hook them up with Johnny's Pizza? Matt said he attended church on Sunday with some of the other players. What a great way to bond on and off the field. Sunday afternoon was the media day where fans could get up close and meet the football players. Matt said the true freshman cannot talk to the media. He had several kids ask for his autograph and he got to meet the real Bulldog mascot along some of the cheerleaders and the regal blues dance team. He had one of the big tailgating groups tell him that they were going to be serving a Matt Nelson dog at their tailgate, but they needed to know what that was. Here is the skinny on a Matt Nelson dog: Kosher weenie split down the middle with melted American cheese, bacon and ketchup! Sounds good to me! I would need some jalapenos on top of mine. I last spoke to Matt on his way to the special teams meeting last night. So I thought. I had a surprise phone call from his butt during the meeting. I listened for about 2 minutes of the special teams meeting and I hung up. I did not want any secret information and for sure did not want to get in trouble. It looks like week 1 is over. I know I might sound calm, but I am so nervous as the Auburn game approaches. Send more underwear! Until we visit again, have a blessed week. College Football Dad!

Monday, August 10, 2009

4 Years to Go! 8/10/09

I thought I would start this story at the beginning of my son's college football career as a freshman at Louisiana Tech, Fall 2009. Most people will probably want to know about him and you will stay informed as he progresses week by week and year by year. I want this to be from a dad's point of view. This will be from my heart and my emotions will be churning along the way. He checked in with the rest of the team on Sunday. He had already enrolled in early July and was working out with some of the team under the guidance of the strength & conditioning coaches. He was taking a couple of classes to get acclimated with college. Being a freshman in a junior/senior world is always tough for most. As a projected starter as a freshman he will have to fit in and show his goods on the field. I try to stay behind the scenes as he makes new friends and starts to experience life on his own. I hope his upbringing has prepared him for this journey. I am not sure mine prepared me to have a son getting ready to head to Auburn and play in front of 92K fans. I do no know what to expect. Two-a-days have started as the team begins to bond. Day # 1.