Monday, September 14, 2009

Navy 9/12/09

It is Navy week! Wow is this really real? I still have not recovered, nor caught up from going to Auburn. It was hard to focus on work and writing. I guess this college football thing is going to be nonstop. I had better get my seat belt on and keep my foot on the gas before I get left behind. I did pick up a few extra drawers on the way home. I am still accepting drawer care packages by the way. Matt and the team returned from Auburn around 2:30AM Sunday morning. On the flight home, Matt and Coach Dooley got to see the video of his kicks and special teams so they could start breaking things down. Their charter flights come and go from Monroe. That sort of rhymes. That is pretty cool. Monroe is about 25 miles east of Ruston. Once they land, they still have around 45 minutes before they hit the field house. I have not figured this out yet, but on Sunday afternoons they do a stretch and stride. Maybe before the season is over I will figure it out. I talked to Matt a couple of times during Navy week. Practice and the film breakdown of Navy's special teams were going well. Before I go too much further, I want to say how proud I am that Matt is getting to go experience the Naval Academy. Not only to play football, but to see the Academy. "Honor..... Courage..... Commitment....." This is what they live by. These are very powerful words. I support these young men and women as well as the other military institutions. Now that I have said what I needed to, it is time to be a College Football Dad. An opponent is an opponent and it does not matter who it is. You go into the game needing to kick your opponents butt. You can shake hands after the final whistle has blown. There, now you have it! I will not be making this road trip. Janet will be making the journey with her Mom, along with her Aunt and Uncle. David & Barbara, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for all that you have done for Janet and our family while we are trying to sell our home in San Antonio. They flew out on Thursday so they could do some of the tourista stuff. On top of that Meggie (Janet's Mom) would eat crab cakes without me! Not fair! The team would leave the field house at 9:00AM Friday morning. Matt called while he was on the bus to Monroe. He felt good and mentally he was focused. I received a text from him at 12:50 CST as they had just landed in Baltimore. Once they got on the bus they would go directly to the field and change into their practice clothes and begin their walk through. After they have gone through their walk through they head to the team hotel. They are staying at the Hilton BWI Baltimore Airport Hotel. When I spoke to Matt, he said that the hotel was 10 times nicer than the Embassy Suites that they stayed at in Montgomery. The team dinner was at 6:30 and meetings started at 7:30. Matt had a special guest sit with him at the team dinner. For those of you who do not know, La Tech has put some great kickers in the NFL. I think you will recognize these three guys. They are Chris Boniol, Matt Stover and Josh Scobee. They all played at La Tech and have done well in the NFL. Josh is still playing and Matt Stover was up until last year. Chris Boniol has been working with Matt for the last three years. Matt's special guest was Matt Stover. Really, a pro kicker talking to Matt at the team hotel? Actually Coach Dooley, Matt Stover and Matt were the only ones at their dinner table. I am not sure what all was talked about, but I am sure some kicking philosophy was discussed. Matt also had another visitor later in the night. You guessed it. It was another Matt. Back at the end of Matt's sophomore year we partnered with NCSA. They are a national recruiting service out of Chicago that helps get your videos and information to colleges all across the USA. Matt Webb was Matt's recruiting contact who he would check in with on a weekly basis during his last two years of high school. Matt Webb also was the deep snapper at Louisville during the 05 -07 season. Matt no longer works for NCSA, but has stayed in touch with us. He now works for the US government in Washington DC and is a volunteer kicking/deep snapping coach at Georgetown University. I know this is a lot of Matt's for one night. None of these Matt's had ever met in person before and my Matt was on cloud 619. Game day has arrived and I am nervous. I guess I am nervous because I cannot see what he is doing during warm-ups and such. This is going to be very weird getting two perspectives of the game. Janet's will be live and mine from the TV. A lot of our family and friends are watching the game with exotic food menus. I know gumbo five ways is on one of them. My menu will consist of a few adult beverages and the smelling of Italian beef. Janet calls right before the game is getting ready to start and said Matt's warm up kickoffs were good and his field goals were very consistent. She said they had an incredible fly over with two F-18's. Tyler and Arnell had come down to watch the game with me. Navy would kick off to start the game. I knew this would not set well with Matt as he wants to get into the game in the very beginning. With the coin toss it is 50/50, so that is going to happen at times. La Tech started out quick with two quick scores. Matt was spot on with his two PAT’s. I have to tell you that even after a few adult beverages, I could not sit and watch him kick his PAT's or kickoffs. I had to go into the kitchen and watch from a far. I don't know how this made it any easier to watch. After he would kick, I could watch the game from my big brown chair. I know, I am weird. I decided to go with only one pair of drawers for this game. I was very close by to extras if I made a mistake. Tech's offense would sputter the rest of the game. Navy won the game 32 - 14. Our offense needs some major tweaking. I am confident that Coach Dooley will get things fixed. After the game the Navy team goes over to where the band and cadets are and La Tech files in behind them as they sang the Navy song. Even though they had their tails handed to them, it was pretty special to see. Then both teams walk off the field together. Janet got to visit with Matt after the game for a few minutes before they headed to the airport. Matt called when he was on the bus while on the way to the airport. He was very disappointed. I did the dad thing and said there is no “I” in the word team. He knows that, but I just had to say it. I told him I was proud of him and to use this as a learning experience. Take the positives out of the game and grow from them. This is still a young team. Matt sat next to Coach Dooley for part of the return trip. They got to dissect the special teams and the kicking game film. There is no rest in big time college football. As soon as the game is over, film is broke down and you start preparing for your next opponent. The team arrived back to the field house about 11:30 PM. It would be lights out and get ready for the next day. We are 0-2 and have to get things on track this coming week. La Tech will be at home as they host Nicholls State. After that game they start the WAC conference games. Hawaii comes rolling into town next. I am not sure if I will make the Nicholls St game or not. I will probably listen to it on the Radio. I will end our Navy game week here. Two weeks in and I am a proud College Football Dad, but a nervous one. Until our paths cross again, have a blessed week. College Football Dad!