Thursday, December 31, 2009

Reflections! 12/31/09

I sit here and reflect on what has just happened over the last 6 months. I have been on one of the wildest rides of my life and I got to continue my passion for college football through his eyes! We knew that Matt was very self driven and passionate about achieving his first year goals, but I had no idea he would achieve them the way he did. I am so proud of his work ethic and dedication to his team. I know Matt will work even harder in the off season and will get bigger and stronger. Mental toughness and the desire to perfect his craft will keep Matt grounded and focused on the teams goals as well as his personal goals. One of my all time favorite business quotes is what Matt is doing in his football career and what I want to do in my business career! “Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson My reflections will be highlights on the good, the bad, the ugly and the many people that we are so thankful for. Before I begin I have to thank Chris Boniol, Matt Stover and Josh Scobee for their support and constant communication with Matt. Matt's stats for the season were quite impressive in my mind for a true freshman swimming in shark infested waters. Matt ended the season 12 of 16 for field goals with only one miss less than 50 yards and he was 42 of 43 on PAT's. He was the leading scorer on the team with 78 points. His kickoff average of 57 yards is a little misleading when you play a hit the numbers game and you have some that go out of bounds. I am not a fan of this type of kicking, but what do I know! I am just a College Football Dad and a Travel Specialist! I think that there are situations where a pooch kick is the right thing to do, but not as a common theme. I hope CD and CT work on kicking it deep during the off season and CH works on maximizing his leg muscle. I went back and looked at all of Matt's kicks and not one kick was completely blocked the entire season. There were a couple of balls that got tipped, but still went through the up rights. I think special props needs to be given to the special teams O-line and the trust and timing with Thomas, Cade and Matt. That is an awesome stat that most people do not look at. I want to take time to thank those who have made an impact on me during my first season as a Bulldog. I have to start with my wife for her strength and courage during the season along with my oldest son for his extreme support for his younger brother. I want to give a very special thanks to Thomas Graham for taking Matt under is wings and being the most ultimate mentor for Matt that we could have ever asked for. I have to thank all of our immediate family, close friends and friends of family for traveling many thousands of miles in support of Matt and the Bulldogs both home and away. I have met or had email communication with so many awesome people during my freshman year. (Tom Morris, Philip Parker, Dusty McGehee, Rusty Anding, Adam McGuirt, Ross Harper, Don Garland, the La Tech Football staff and Ross aka Marketdawg) I thank you for all of your support and welcoming us to the Bulldog family. I have to thank Jonathan Ford and the BleedTechBlue Radio team. Fantasy Cruise & Travel was a sponsor this year and I will do it again next year. I also have to thank Matt’s original roommates; Josh (Summer Camp), Doak, Matt and Vince. These young men will be very successful at La Tech and they are just good people. Last but not least I have to thank Dan “The Equipment Man” Matthiesen. Dan and Matt are currently roommates and they keep each other in check. Dan is an awesome person and will keep Matt in line! I am not sure if this should be the Nelly Awards or just reflections of the season, but here we go. I am going to start with the ugly. The ugly for the season were the kickoffs that went out of bounds and the missed 38 yard field goal at Nevada. Directional kicking to a number on opposite sides of the field will cause balls to go places they should not when you do not warm up this way. I hope we can kick the ball deep next year and yes I understand that the coverage team was banged up this year and the return personnel will determine where CD wants the ball kicked, but kick it deep! The bad for the season for me was the missed PAT at the Idaho game, the missed 58 yard field goal at the Hawaii game and the missed 52 yarder against San Jose St. Matt had missed one PAT during his high school career and now one for his college career. I feel like Matt will make several 50 plus yarder's during his college career, but I thought 58 yards might of been a stretch this early in his career. With this being said I am a huge fan of CD and how he not only coaches, but he teaches life’s lessons. How these young men react to adverse situations will help them be prepared for what life throws at them. Now for the good! The 46 yard field goal in his first college game at Auburn, the 3 field goals against LSU, the surprise on sides kick that he recovered against Boise St and his only tackle in the San Jose State game. I will also include the missed 56 yard field goal against Idaho. I was very proud of the effort in this game winning kick that had the distance, but missed to the left. It was not about the miss, but that with the game on the line that good contact was made and it had a chance! The other made field goals and PAT's were all awesome in how they were made, but this is what his craft is and should be made to ensure your starting position and a possible future career. I saved the Double Drawer’s Award for Mr. Tom Morris for taking pictures of the away games that I did not attend. I got to watch these games on TV or listened over the internet. This was one of the hardest things mentally I have ever gone through and thank goodness that I had extra pairs of drawers! I am looking for care packages for next year! Seriously a very special thanks to Tom Morris for letting me use some of his pictures for my blog for the away games I did not attend. Even though the team did not have a winning season this year they were in all of the games during the second half of the season. La Tech would end up at 4 - 8 for the season. With the playing time of so many freshmen and more home games I feel like the 2010 season will be a winning one and the Bulldogs will be bowling again. It has been a blast for me this season to take my thoughts and share my passion through him. I appreciate all of those who have followed my journey. I write from my heart and what my feelings are at that moment. I will continue to write about Matt and the football process up to when spring practice starts on a limited basis. May your New Year be filled with Sunny Smiles, Sandy Dreams and Travel your Way! Until our paths cross again, have a blessed New Year! College Football Dad!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

San Jose St. 12/5/09

Oh no it is here! I have been dreading this week. It will be our last game of the season. Am I disappointed? You bet I am! Am I proud of this team? You bet I am! If we can beat San Jose St, then the seniors will go out with a win. I don't know too much about San Jose St, so let’s take a look. A Spartan is a group of elite warriors from ancient Greece, located on the island province of Sparta. Spartan warriors are trained from infancy to be nothing but soldiers. They are to be perfect in every respect and aspect of war, and nothing else. Weaklings perish soon after birth; youth are taught to thieve and terrorize the slave class to harden them; young men are taught to nothing unless it has something to do with the arts of war - Even music and dance are there only to help keep step when marching and obeying orders. The result is a man who thinks nothing of danger, expects to win, and creates a sense of dread in his opponents. If all of this is true then, San Jose St has not lived up to their definition. Ok, that is enough about a fake Spartan! The travel business has been a little up and down. Some last minute holiday travel, spring break and the 2010 summer are the hot topics of the week. Who knows maybe one day the La Tech Alumni association might want to put together a group cruise or something. I bet that would be a hoot! I guess it is time to jump right in the middle of the last week of football for the Bulldogs. Matt had a full week to rest his ankle during Thanksgiving and would test it on Monday. His practices went well. His field goals were spot on. They broke down file on the San Jose St kick return team. Coach was working on the number hitting thing again. I just wish they would let him kick the ball. What difference is it going to make? His critics already think he can only kickoff to the 25! If you ask me those people do not know crap when it comes to kicking a football. They just want a line drive into the end zone that looks like a wounded duck. It’s not going to happen! The young man only kicks where the Coaches tell him to kick. Oh, I forgot, wounded ducks only fall out of the sky in McKinney, Texas. Ok enough on the venting! I just wanted to see if I could get some feathers ruffled! HaHa! Matt said the rest of the week went well. They really wanted to send the seniors out with a victory and that was the only thing on Matt’s mind. We were going to have a lot of family and friends attend the game. My sister and her family would be attending their first game. With the game starting at 1:00PM we would arrive at the stadium around 9:30AM. Our tailgate would be a liquid tailgate and it would consist of beverages for all ages. We met the bus at 11:00AM as the team drove in from Monroe. Matt looked sharp as he got off the bus. Mom & Dad got a big old hug and off he went. We head back to the suburban for a few more cold ones. We made our way into the stadium around 12:15PM. We saw Matt warm up for a few minutes, but we really wanted to be there to applaud the seniors. It was their day and time for them to shine. Gentlemen good luck to your future and lot's of success to whatever life brings you. I have to give a very special shout out to Thomas Graham. He has taken Matt under his wings and shown him the ropes in college football. I know Matt has the utmost respect for him and Janet and I could not have asked for a better mentor than Thomas. Not only is Thomas a great deep snapper, he is a great person and he will be missed on this team. Game time is here, so let the butt kicking begin. We started off a little rough as San Jose St would score first and at the end of the first quarter the score would be tied 14 - 14. This is not the start that we need. I need to give a special shout out to Matt for making his first touchdown saving tackle. It looked like a take down in a calf scamble. Awesome tackle Matt! Something has got to kick in real quick! Wow did we kick it into gear. We score 31 points in the second quarter. Matt got to attempt a 53 yard field goal and he toed it missing it left. Matt would end the 2nd quarter with a 40 yard field goal. Are you kidding me? Where has then type of explosion been all year? San Jose St would score on a 80 yard pass and Matt would make a 32 yard field goal as the 3rd quarter comes to an end with the score 48 - 20. San Jose St would drive mid way through the 4th quarter, but oops they throw an interception at the six and we return it 96 yards for a touchdown. The final horn sounds and the Bulldogs run away with this one 55 - 20. Matt was good on all of his PAT's and ended up with 13 points for the day. What a way to send the seniors out with a victory. We met Matt up by the locker room after the game. He hates taking photos but with new family in attendance more pictures need to be taken. It was pretty cool when his cousin came up with a mini helmet and asked Matt for his autograph. It really was classic! We were very proud of Matt's efforts in this game as well as the whole team. We are very sad because the season is over and we are not bowling, but on the other hand we are excited Matt will get to join us on the cruise we are taking to celebrate my parent’s 50th anniversary! Our evening would end with a family meal at the Log Cabin. Matt was going to hang with his older brother Saturday night and we would meet up with them Sunday morning for breakfast before we head back to Dallas and then myself to San Antonio. The Caribbean was now in our future! What a season it has been. We have met some fantastic people this year. Everyone we have met has been so kind to our family and we truly appreciate your open arms. We really appreciate everyone’s support during the season and look forward to meeting many more of you in the upcoming seasons! I will be writing an overview of the season before the end of the year. My goal is to write every 2 to 3 weeks on Matt's football happenings leading up to the spring game. I really appreciate those of you who have followed my blog and I hope I have not offended anyone. I write from the heart and apologize if I stepped on someone's toes. I want to give a special shout out to Mr. Tom Morris for allowing me to use his pictures for the games I did not attend. Until our paths cross again, have a blessed week! College Football Dad!