Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Southern Miss 9/25/10

Yellow Buzzard, Yellow Buzzard where art thou? I have watched Southern Miss play on TV twice this year already. Against South Carolina they looked like the got the mustard squeezed out of them and against Kansas they looked like they just came out of the car wash all sparkled up. Now they are headed to Ruston sporting their new doo! Which team will we get? I will take either one of them. Bring your best buzzards and I think you will leave town a loser after the Bulldawgs have hiked their legs and rained on your new doo! All funny business aside, I am looking forward to playing Southern Miss. They are where we want to be in the CUSA and what a great chance for us to fill some butts in the seats and show the CUSA we have it going on! Very similar to Navy, Southern Miss has been to a bowl game for the last 8 straight years. I think this is a tradition that we would like to start here at La Tech. We are not playing the powder puff team. We are playing a very good football team! When I look at Southern Miss football and school traditions they are all over the map. Every student gets a handbook called the Drawl. What kind of name is a Drawl? History says that the school name has Southern in it and what do Southerners talk with? Really? Is this a joke? The next thing I found was the Yellow Buzzard Code of honor! If you are a Yellow Buzzard this is the oath you must abide by: A Yellow Buzzard always does the right thing, is punctual and respectful (gets there on time and stays to the end), is always a lady or a gentleman and is true to the Black and Gold (Yellow). Do you have to sign a document to buy a ticket? I think they are just making things up! The Nasty Bunch is the name of the football team’s defense, and it is also the team’s defensive cheer. “Nasty Bunch! Nasty Bunch! Nasty! Bunch!” It is used each time Southern Miss holds an opposing offense on third down or when the Nasty Bunch makes a significant defensive play, which is not often! The song “Are You from Dixie?” is played after every extra point scored during a Southern Miss football game. Enough of this Yellow Buzzard BS! We have a football game to get ready for. I spoke to Matt several times during the week and he said practice has gone well. Staying mentally focused and going through his check list in his head before each kick. The ball seems to be popping off of his foot better than anytime so far this year. I keep telling him to practice his golf swing and your ball will always land on the green! Josh Scobee contacted Matt early in the week to see how things went. Matt told him things went well during the Navy game and then he told Josh thanks for getting him 8 points for his fantasy football team. Josh thought that was pretty cool! Chris Boniol checked on Matt as well. I think it is great that these guys take the time out of their busy schedules and take a deep interest not only in Matt, but the school as well. Matt's plant leg is getting stronger and he feels like he is about 108%. He worked on a few more kickoffs during the week with the team and was getting good distance and 4.2 plus hang time on his kicks. His legs still feel fresh and is ready for Southern Miss. Matt said the team has had a good week of practice and is pumped and ready. Before they head to the team hotel Friday evening they are going to go see the movie Wall Street "Money never Sleeps". Good luck Dawgs! Let's kick some Yellow Buzzard butt Saturday evening! My trip to Ruston for the game will not be a typical trip. My wife informed me early in the week that this was going to be a "Visitation Tailgate" What? I am not going to a funeral! She said get your beer, wine, chair and set your tent up. Then sit your butt in the middle of it and visit! Are you kidding me? No cooking? No way! Do you know what this makes me look like? After many rounds back and forth I decided to give in and say "Yes Dear" if this will make you happy! It damm sure does not make me happy, but I agreed to do it this time and only this time! Does she not know I am surrounded by professional chefs at tailgate spot 47 and 48 (Dusty, Bryan and Bradley) tailgate spot 53 ( Chef Bobby Cockrell) and tailgate spot 56 (Master Chef Ross, AKA Marketdawg)? These guys are going to want to know if I am wearing a skirt this weekend! I will take my medicine this time only! It worked out ok because we could not drop the dogs off in North Dallas until 8:00 Saturday AM. We swung by Johnny's and picked up some muffaletta's and hit the tailgate spot at 12:15. It makes no difference how many times you stop it is a solid 4 hour trip. The tent is setup, my chair is in the middle of the tent and my butt is drinking an Abita Turbo Dog! Let the visiting begin! HaHa! My tailgate neighbor Chef Bobby Cockrell had 15 slabs of ribs going, Master Chef Ross had his shrimp boil going and Dusty, Bryan and Bradley had the wings going. What did I have going? My tail between my legs! This is not looking good! Since the team arrives at 4:00 (Janet likes to go watch Matt warm up! It calms her down supposedly!) I would of only had 3 hours and 30 minutes to get things setup anyway, so it worked out Ok! Don't tell Janet (wife) that I said this worked out ok! I told her I was still not happy! During my Visitation Tailgate I got to visit with Jonathan Ford and Mr. Ross Harper. Thanks for the beer, water and sodas Mr. Harper. You are an awesome ambassador for the school! After I served my visitation time in the chair Mr. Harper & I walked around and he introduced me to many of the Bulldawg family. We even walked up the hill and visited with the BBB group. I saw Adam, John and got to meet Dwayne. I was hoping to see Dawgmatic and introduce myself to HD, but they were not there. That was my first time to go that direction during a game day! I was surprised how many people were tailgating up there! Very cool! We made our way back to the visitation tent and Meggie & Papaw (Janet's mom & dad) along with David & Barbara (Janet's aunt & uncle) had made it in for the game. While I was walking around with Mr. Harper, Dusty and Bradley brought over some wings to sample. They were awesome guys! I had been watching most of the afternoon Chef Bobby (tailgate spot 53) cook these ribs. Yes my tail was still between my legs. He had this awesome charcoal technique that turned his Weber grill into a rib cookin' machine. He was cookin' 15 slabs with his chef coat on! That is what I would love to do! Bobby is an awesome cook/person and I have a lot to learn from him this fall! Oh and the ribs were to die for and you need to come ask him about his cookin' technique and his rib recipe! Thanks to everyone for the food samples! I owe you big time! Mr. Woody Rust came by and we shared some football stories and drank a few beers. It is always good to talk to him about the defense. That is a part of the game that I do not know too much about. He has a very good knowledge of the defensive game and explains it so that am learning some! I had a very special visitor come visit right before we were headed to the stadium. I had heard awesome things about him from Matt and I finally got to meet Matt Graham! Wow! What an amazing visit. Thomas Graham has taken Matt (#33) under his wings since he arrived at La Tech and we as a family are so grateful for Thomas & Matt Graham. They are just awesome! Thanks for being someone Matt (#33) can lean on! It's game time and with a beer (Abita IPA) in hand I head to the stadium. We sit in the general admission area and try to get as close to the tuba players as possible. I love the band and we get into the "Move the Chains" after a first down! I only got to see Matt kick a few kicks before game time. When Southern Miss came through the tunnel they looked pretty big to me! We take the opening kickoff and start on our own 26 yard line. 3 passes to the feet and we have to punt! This is not starting off very good! I would think our first possession would be scripted rock solid! Southern Miss starts out on their 36 and goes 3 and out! Ok, everything is equal now. High Octane Offence you can kick in now! Oh no! Southern Miss just intercepted and is on our 16! This is not good! It is 3rd down on our 4 yard line and a pass to the corner of the end zone is intercepted by Josh Victorian. Great pick Josh, but you have to take a knee there. A new QB is in already? It looks like Coach Franklin has no patience for any mistakes made on the field tonight. The first play out of the shoot and it is a pass play good for 38 yards. Woo Ho! It was only woo ho for a moment as we had to punt again. Southern Miss drives down and kicks a FG. Tech gets the ball back and we drive down and kick a FG! Score tied 3 - 3. Way to go Matt! It looks like your golf game is spot on! Back and forth we go for the 2nd quarter and the score is still tied a 3 -3. Southern Miss starts the 3rd quarter with the ball on our 40 yard line and in 6 plays they score a TD and lead 10 - 3. Southern Miss would kick another FG while we were kicking punts! The 3rd quarter would come to an end with Southern Miss leading 13 - 3. It has been an awesome night weather wise for me until the rain came pouring down, but that is ok with me. This was going to be fun! We are still in the game! Our first possession of the 4th quarter starts by throwing an interception. Our next possession we score, the PAT is good and the score is 13 - 10. The next thing I know I see Matt going in to kickoff. Ok, maybe they have a special play called. Nope, it is a normal kickoff, but we are offside’s. We backup 5 yards and kick again. The Southern Miss kick returner makes his way through a huge hole and Matt gets an assisted tackle. It was a good tackle, but it did not matter and they had an illegal block in the back. They run 3 plays and our defense holds them, they go to punt and Rufus Porter blocks the punt. We had several chances to get the ball in the end zone, but the punter knocked the ball out of the end zone for a safety. Wat to go Rufus! Tech is within one point and the rain is still coming down. The fans that stayed were getting loud and we still have a chance to do this. I am waving my towel, yelling until I lose my voice and jumping up and down trying not to injure my plant foot on the slippery aluminum seats. Whatever I was doing it did not work! Things would not go so well for us as we fumbled, punted and threw an interception in the last 10 minutes of the game and Southern Miss would win 13 - 12. We had so many chances, but had WAY TOO MANY 3rd and shorts that we could not accomplish. I know a FG would of been difficult with this rain, but at least give a chance to win the game. Throwing 40 yard passes in the rain is not going to cut it. Where is our running game? I think we need some super unleaded for our high octane offense! Using regular is not cutting it! This is a very tough loss for us. With conference play starting next week we have no room for error the rest of the season. The rest of the family made their way to the tent and Janet, Kasie (Matt's girlfriend) and I made our way in the pouring rain to the locker room area. The rain sure felt good to me, but the loss was very painful. Matt made his way out a little later and we visited for a few minutes before he went and took his shower. As we all do, Matt hates to lose and was pretty quiet! The only comment he made to me was that he was mentally/physically ready for a game winning FG if the game presented that scenario. Matt said he will be ready when called upon! I made my way past the Southern Miss locker room wondering what if! I kept playing these what ifs in my head. I made it to the tent and everyone was under it. It was really pouring down. I had loaded some things before the game, but not everything. Matt drove over and helped us get some things loaded and we would leave the rest to pick up on Sunday. Matt & Janet went to pickup pizza at Johnny's and would meet the rest of us at the Fairfield Inn. It would be Johnny’s pizza and ESPN until early in the morning on our agenda. I cannot get these what ifs out of my head! My personal shout outs go to the defense for playing 4 quarters, the punting game, Rufus Porter, the remaining fans who stuck it out until the bitter end in the rain, the amazing band and our fantastic student section! I am not sure what to say about the offense. I hope Coach Franklin gets this side of the ball moving in the right direction. I feel like we have the right players on the team, but the players need to execute the plays that are called. We are very young at the skill positions and they need more game experience! When we miss blocks, throw interceptions, fumble balls it makes the coaches look like the bad guys. I think the best is still to come from this team and coaching staff! I have said enough about the Southern Miss game. I have lost my voice and I have not gotten over this loss yet, but it is time to move on. Early Sunday AM we make our way over to the tailgate area and load up the rest of our gear and start our journey back to Dallas. It is time to get my mind right for Hawaii! WAC play is here now and we have to get focused! I am ready for this team to go to Honolulu and kick the Haka out of their Hawaiian butts! Haka? Is this a type of food? Is that what you do when you have a hair ball? The Haka is a posture dance that involves the entire body in vigorous rhythmic movements, which may include swaying, hip gyrations, slapping of the chest, butt and thighs, stamping, and gestures of stylized violence. It is accompanied by a chant and, in some cases, by fierce facial expressions meant to intimidate, such as bulging eyes and the sticking out of the tongue. What in the world is this? Do we need to bring our guns? What does the term Rainbow Warriors represent? I know what it means if you have a rainbow sticker on your bumper! I guess I will never understand these huge guys wearing diapers either! Who helps them pin things back up when Mother Nature calls? HaHa! I will end my Southern Miss experience here. Good luck Bulldogs as we take on the Haka Queens from Hawaii! It will be a 10:30 PM CST game, so get your nap in before the game! HaHa! I appreciate all of those who are following my journey. It is such a blast to follow Matt and the Bulldawgs! I write from the bottom of my heart and what my feelings are at that moment. I don’t intend to upset or hurt anyone, but I am very passionate about La Tech Football! Don’t forget to listen to my friends at La Tech Nation Radio every Tuesday night from 6:00 – 8:00 PM. It should be a great show as always. If you want a picture of your favorite player make sure and visit Tom Morris at La Tech Sports Pix! Mr. Rust I hope you have a blast in Hawaii! May your Football Season be filled with many Football Victories, Sunny Smiles, Sandy Dreams and Travel Your Way! If you need help with your Travel Plans just let me know! Until our paths cross again, have a blessed week! College Football Dad!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Navy 9/18/10

I have been waiting for the Navy game to happen since the 2010 schedule was released. I thought this game would be a good gauge of where our team was at. Navy is a good football team and with Dobb's at the helm they are going to be a good challenge for us. I did not get to attend the game last year at Navy so I am looking forward to seeing the Dawgs play the Midshipmen! Navy has a ton of football tradition and they have gone to 7 straight bowl games. That should tell us how good they are! When we play a team I try to find out something unique about the program or the school. While I was researching I found out that there is someone who is responsible for shining the ships bell and the ships whistle. You will not believe who has these responsibilities. An old Navy tradition has it that the ship's cook shines the ship's bell and the ship's bugler shines the ship's whistle. This tradition may still be observed in some of the ships of the modern Navy. However, in normal practice, the ship's bell is maintained by a man of the ships' division charged with the upkeep of that part of the ship where the bell is located. I am not sure how many ships practice this process, but the cook always has greasy hands and just because the bugler blows his bugle why does he get to blow (clean) the whistle as well? I guess that is why they say "What happens on the ship stays on the ship" HaHa! All kidding aside, I am very thankful for what these young men represent and what they do for our country. Without them we would not be able to do the things we do! Matt has had a great week of practice. He said he has been making solid contact all week and his plant foot is about 102%. Once we get it to 110% and Keith has released/blessed his leg, Matt should be ready for kickoffs in the upcoming weeks. I have been asking Matt all week how his golf game is going. He just laughs at me! I (College Football Dad) am not a football kicker anymore, but I am a true believer that as a kicker you need to follow golf theory with your head and leg. There is no need to look up. The crowd will tell you if it is good and the defender will let you know if he is too close to you! Of course you have to have good leg speed and a smooth follow through. Matt lost a bet to Coach Tommerdahl during the week of the A&M game. I bet coach Tommerdahl that it was only 2 hours from San Antonio to College Station and Coach said 3 hours. According to Google it was 3 hours 11 minutes. So Matt lost the bet and had to pay it off after practice this week. He had to do 100 yards of up downs in front of Coach Tommerdahl and Coach Dykes. I guess it could have been worse. Our travel to Ruston started out on Thursday morning. My parents (John & Carol) have been staying with us in Dallas for a few days while visiting from The Villages in Florida and would make the journey over with us. They have not seen Matt for a while and wanted to visit with him before the team took off to the team hotel on Friday. On the way over we stopped at Maxwell's Market in Shreveport. If you have not been to Maxwell's Market you are missing out on Food Heaven! Ross happened to be there when we arrived around 12:30 PM. We got to visit for a little bit before we stocked up for our tailgate on Saturday. Ross had everything we needed and then some. We got some fresh salmon for our alder plank grilled salmon tacos, pork tenderloins for our pork slider’s after the game, peach smoked andouille sausage, black oak smoked sausage and some bacon wrapped shrimp skewers seasoned with a Creole seasoning. Ross treated us to some andouille, sun dried tomato and cream cheese stuffed mushrooms, homemade boudin and stuffed jalapeƱos with cream cheese and a turd all wrapped with bacon to try on the grill. Did anyone tell me I am cooking too much food besides what everyone else is bringing? I am a firm believer that you should always have more than you need. You never know who might stop by. After an awesome visit with Ross we make our way into Ruston. We are staying at the Fairfield Inn this week. After everything is unloaded and I mean more bags than anyone should travel with we head over and watch practice. I am not talking about my bags! My dad knows who I am talking about! HaHa! It was really cool sitting up in the stands watching the last practice as they prepare for Navy. The team did look really good at practice. The offense and the defense were working over the scout teams pretty good. The special teams units looked good as well. Saw some interesting plays run that could be used in the game if the right scenarios presented themselves. All in all I was pretty impressed with the practice. We caught up with Matt at the field house after practice. He looked good and was in real good spirits. He had to go take an ice bath and would catch up with us at the hotel later. This gave us time to enjoy a few adult beverages before Matt got there. Matt finally made his way to the hotel and we got to visit for a bit before heading over to Kasie's (Matt's girlfriend) house to meet Matt and Kasie's dog Bear! Bear sort of looks like Benji, but much cuter! Should I be saying that word? We then made our way to Ponchatoulas. Matt has always talked about this place and this was my first time to eat here. Chad Boyd and his girlfriend came while we were waiting for a table. I had the fried shrimp and onion rings and it was fantastic. I am sure I will make a return trip to Ponchatoulas. It had been a long day and I knew there was a bed calling my name. Tomorrow will be here soon enough. Friday morning was kind of lazy! We visited the new bookstore in the old location and bought a few new items. Matt had a little time so he met us for lunch at Dowling's Smokehouse. This was another first for me. I have heard so many good things about this place and I had to try the "Scatterload" on jalapeƱo cheese bread. Man was that good. I did not even look at the menu. I had heard that this was what you need to order and I was not disappointed. I did look at the menu after I had ordered and saw that there was a pulled rib meat sandwich. That sounds amazing as well. I did not get to meet Mr. Telford, but I hope to one day! Matt had some things that he needed to do before he had to be at the field house by 3:00. We said our good-byes and wished him and the team good luck. We pretty much chilled the rest of the afternoon, sipped on a few adult beverages and visited Johnny's Pizza for dinner. There pizza was awesome as usual! We spent the rest of the evening watching the 2nd half of the Southern Miss game and the Nevada game. Those two teams are pretty stout. We will need our A+++++ game on when we face them. Game Day has arrived, the Waffle House is on our way and my tailgate spot is waiting for me. We pull in the parking lot at 8:45 AM and start setting everything up. Everything is good to go by 9:30. My first beer was an Abita IPA! It was not too bad! The chairs, tables, ice chest, grill; games along with my parents are all in place for the big day! We had a lot of family coming for the game. Meggie & Papaw (Janet's Parents), Mike, Melynda and Mikayla (Janet's brother, sister -n- law and niece) David (Janet's Uncle) Tyler (my oldest son) and his roommate Kyle. They all came in from Houston, Dallas and Austin. As the day went on I got to visit with so many neat people. I am so glad we are part of the La Tech family. Everyone makes you feel like family. Some of the ones I got to meet and spent time with were Mr. Ross Harper, John Hamm, Bryan Moore, Dusty McGehee, Bobby & Julie Cockrell (Tailgate Neighbors), Dave & Jane Matthiesen, Dan "The Equipment Man" Matthiesen, Don Garland, Adam McGuirt, Andrew (Tailgate Neighbor) Ross Barclay, Michael Quarles and Jonathan Ford. Many thanks to Bryan Moore & Dusty McGehee for letting me test drive their fried catfish and gator! They are in tailgate spot 48 - 50. I am not sure of their tailgate name! It was awesome! I also finally got to Meet Mr. Woody Rust and his family. What an awesome group of folks I got to spend time with! As I stated earlier everyone makes you feel like part of the family. Just awesome! As the afternoon wears on the food is grilling, adult beverages are disappearing, family is getting restless and it is hot as heck! The alder planked grilled salmon tacos, bacon wrapped shrimp, and fresh andouille sausage, stuffed mushrooms, and these atomic turd poppers were amazing! Before I know it I hear the sirens and the team is approaching the stadium. This will be the first time that they are dropped off by the pavilion and they will walk through tailgate alley down into the stadium and then up to the field house. I got a chance to see Matt and I got a head nod! That is all I can ask for! It's time to pick up some and get ready to head to the stadium. Where else in college football can you go from your tailgate spot to inside the stadium in less than 5 minutes? Nowhere but La Tech! I got to watch Matt kick a few and he looked pretty pumped up. The new tunnel looked pretty cool. I am not sold on the flower patch yet. Maybe it will grow on me! HaHa! Navy comes out with two American flags as they make their way on to the field. The Bulldogs are hidden in the tunnel and then the smoke starts bellowing and here comes the Dawgs! It was quite spectacular. The B52 flyover and the parachute jumpers were amazing as well. I sit right next to the tuba players and the stands were rockin'! We take the opening kickoff, get a couple of first downs and have to punt the ball away to Navy. Navy takes the ball down the field and puts up 7 points. La Tech gets the ball back on the 30 yard line and stalls at the Navy 8 yard line where Matt would make a 25 yard FG! This was not what La Tech wanted, but for Matt this is just what he needed to wash away the missed PAT at A&M. I knew Matt would be mentally prepared for this game and his golf game would be spot on! The Tech defense holds Navy on its next possession and we get the ball back. Colby marches the Dawgs down to the Navy 19 where Matt will kick a 36 yard FG. He is back! We hold Navy to 4 and out on their next possession. Colby marches Tech back down the field and hands off to Lyle Fitte for a 2 yard TD. Matt makes the PAT and we are on a roll. Navy scores, but misses the PAT and we are tied at 13. Tech goes down the field and stalls at the Navy 26. Matt lines up for a 43 yard FG and he kicked the crap out of the ball. It would have been good from 55+. Wow! 3 FG's in the first half so far. I think Matt has his swagger back! Navy marches down field and makes a 37 yard FG. We get the ball back and score on an 8 yard pass to Ikharo. Matt converts the PAT and we go into half with a 23 - 16 lead. Defense looks good and the offense is gelling! I am sort of speechless and numb! I like what I see. After the band played Matt came out to take a few warm-up kicks. It was pretty funny watching him and the Navy kicker kick FG's in the same direction! The 2nd half would be a nightmare! Navy scores 21 points and we barely are on the field the entire 2nd half. We had two killer turnovers and Navy wins 37 to 23. I have just witnessed Dr. Jeckel and Mr. Hyde, the tale of the two sisters or polar opposites. Whatever you want to call it I saw 2 different teams during this game. It looked like we made no corrections in the 2nd half on either side of the ball. If we did make corrections then they were not the right ones! What are we doing? We had Navy by the throats and we did not come out and keep our foot down on them. We need some leaders (Team Police) on both sides of the ball to get in some faces! No one should win in our house! No one! I have a couple of shout outs to Chad Boyd and Dusty Rust. Chad your one handed interception was awesome and Dusty your wicked hit on Dobb's will stick with me forever! I thought it was pretty cool that the Navy team stood next to our team why we played the school song. Very First Class in my book! We made our way over to the field house to visit with Matt after the game. I caught him as he came out, gave him a hug and told him congrats on his golf game. I knew he was pissed as he had his mean eyes shooting flames agian! He thought they had a real good chance against Navy, but tonight was not the night. I was not sure where Matt was headed next, but he told me to hang on for a minute. The next thing I know he is shaking hands with John Walker a sophomore kicker from C.E Byrd High School in the Shreveport area. Matt had worked with him at Josh Scobee's football camp and John and Matt have stayed in touch since then. Matt visited with John and his family and took some pictures before he visited with his family. I was truly touched to see Matt put all of his efforts into making John and his family feel welcomed at La Tech! Did Matt learn all of this from me? I made my way back to the tailgate spot to get the grill fired back up! We decided to grill some pork tenderloins for some pork sliders and some dogs. We decided to do this instead of going out to eat and waiting in line. Matt would make his way to the tailgate and visit with family, the Matthiesen's and take many pictures. I have to give a special shout out to my Niece Mikayla. She is Matt's biggest fan and she was celebrating her 13th birthday while attending the game. Happy Birthday Mikayla! I think everyone enjoyed the food and company after the game. I am sure we will do this again! Tyler, many thanks for helping Grandpa get from point A to B and then to C!Wow what a day! Way too many highs and way too many lows! I am ready for the roller coaster ride to be over. I want to see this high octane offense to speed down the drag strip! I am ready to see the ball to get thrown above the receiver’s knees and I am super ready to see 4 quarters of consistent football! To all of the coaching staff, I 100% support what you all bring to the table and I know it will take time to merge your schemes with the current players! I know there are curves in the in the road, but it is time to turn the corner! Thanks to everyone for bringing food/goodies and for hanging out with us! It was a blast! I am not very happy with this loss, but it is time to move on as we have to get ready for Southern Miss! Bring on Southern Miss and let's go kick some yellow buzzard butt! Southern Miss is not going to be an easy game! They took care of business against Kansas last week. After our loss to Navy, I think Coach Dykes will have this team ready for all 4 quarters. What the heck is a Yellow Buzzard? The Yellow Buzzard is the mascot for Southern Miss! Its name is Seymour! What kind of name is Seymour for a school mascot? Actually its real name is Seymour d'Campus! What the heck is that? I am told they stole the name from the mascot of the 1984 World’s Fair. That mascots name was Seymour d'Fair! Are you kidding me? That is enough on the stupid Yellow Buzzard! I will end my Navy experience here. Good luck Bulldogs as we take on the Yellow Buzzards form Southern Miss! It will be a Red Out game so get your Red on! I appreciate all of those who are following my journey. I write from my heart and what my feelings are at that moment. I don’t intend to upset anyone, but I am very passionate about La Tech Football! Don’t forget to listen to my friends at Bleed Tech Blue Radio every Tuesday night from 6:00 – 8:00 PM. It should be a great show as always. If you want a picture of your favorite player make sure and visit Tom Morris at La Tech Sports Pix! May your Football Season be filled with many Football Victories, Sunny Smiles, Sandy Dreams and Travel Your Way! If you need help with your Travel Plans just let me know! Until our paths cross again, have a blessed week! College Football Dad!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Texas A&M 9/11/10

It is Aggie week and I am really stoked to finally get my chance to see a game played on Kyle Field. I never dreamed that I would one day get to see one of my own out on Kyle Field. We are so lucky that we get to experience this with our family and friends! I just need to keep my eye out for those people with the frog giggin' sticks! HaHa! All kidding aside Texas A&M has some awesome football tradition and I am looking forward to seeing the Corp, the band and the cheerleaders! I understand they have a different type of cheerleader. Oops, I was supposed to say Yell Leader! Sorry about that! Not! What the heck is a Yell Leader? I guess I need to look this up at the Urban Dictionary. The Urban Dictionary states: “Although nationally known for their spirit, the Texas Aggies have no cheerleaders. This is because they have no school cheers. Instead, there are a variety of school yells. It is basically an excuse for a bunch of guys to run around in tight white pants and "yell".” I am not sure I totally understand this concept, but they seem to like it. Matt has had a good week at practice. He has been kicking the ball with good pop and height on field goals and pat's. Josh and Ross have had great timing on snaps all week. Matt said he practiced some drive by kickoffs at full speed and is feeling pretty good about his progress. They practiced a few new schemes in case the game needs a little shake, rattle and roll! You never know when you might need to bring a surprise to the party. I hope our offense is ready to show its stuff! I am ready for some Sonny/Tony ball! Our game day travel started very early. We left North Dallas about 5:45 AM. The suburban is loaded with my wife (Janet), parents (John & Carol) and way too much food and adult beverages. We have some awesome friends (Joe, Jake (goes to A&M) & Julie Trevino) that have secured an RV/tailgate spot for about 30 of Matt's family and friends. We hit College Station about 9:15 AM after an extended stop at Buc-ee's in Madisonville. Joe and Julie already have everything set up and we unload all of our tailgating gear. I am not sure why I needed everything I brought. It is like I am going away for a week! I will learn one of these days! Its 10:00 AM and my first adult beverage is popped! This is really cool! Tailgating in College Station! Our food of choice is Layne's Chicken Tenders. This I am told is a College Station institution and that the Cane's concept came from Layne's. Layne's and Cane's only serve chicken tenders with a pink peppery dipping sauce. I am told that Layne's and Cane's sit right next to each other in College Station. That would make for some good food competition for sure! I thought Layne’s dipping sauce was awesome! We can't wait for everyone to arrive at the tailgate. They are all bringing goodies centered on the chicken tenders. I know this group and we will have more food than we could possibly eat. Janet's (wife) parents (Meggie & Papaw) stopped by the team hotel on Lake Conroe Saturday morning and visited with Matt. They said he was in good spirits and was looking forward to playing at A&M along with seeing friends, family, old coaches, old teammates and classmates. Of course he is looking forward to a win as well! We got to visit with a lot of Tech fans while we were tailgating. We visited with Andrew Guillot's parents. They were super nice folks. We also got to spend some time with Mr. Don Garland and his wife. They are huge Tech fans and great people! There were many others and many thanks for stopping by. Our afternoon consisted of eating awesome food, playing Cornhole, Tailgate Toss, visiting with some awesome people, drinking adult beverages, sweating and getting pumped to watch the Bulldogs take on the Aggies! We caught the 12th Man Shuttle and headed to the stadium. We left Lot 50 right at 4:00 PM. We figured it would take about an hour to go through the process of getting in the stadium and it was pretty close to that. We had to wait on the marching of the Corp and it was an awesome sight. Tradition at its finest! Once we made it in the stadium we got to see Matt warming up. Are you kidding me? Matt is on the field at Kyle Field? As big of a sauna as it was I had goose bumps. He looked like he was striking the ball well. The student section was rocking and the noise was incredible! I don't know about you, but I am ready for some football! Let's get this game rolling! The tribute to the hero's from 911 was awesome! The flyover was incredible as well! Let's get this thing started please! A&M kicks off and here we go. The first quarter was loud, hot and pretty bizarre! Crazy snaps, turnovers and we are still in the game after the first quarter. At the 2:08 mark Matt was sent out for a 37 yard field goal. I must admit I was a little nervous. I don't know why because Matt is not. The snap was good and the leg swing was smooth. It's good! Way to go Matt! The first quarter would end at 7 - 3 in favor of A&M. The second quarter would be crazy as well with turnovers and a terrible call at the end of the quarter. We recovered an A&M fumble at the 1 yard line and it took 4 plays to finally get the ball across the goal line. Matt kicks the PAT and the score is 14 to 10 in favor of A&M with 4:35 left to play in the quarter. Late in the quarter we intercepted the ball and get called for a personal foul on a high hit after the interception had been made. It was total BS! It was a terrible call! A&M gets the ball and throws a Hail Mary down the field and scores. It looks like we had our entire group of defenders jump for the ball and no one behind the play in case A&M did catch the ball. This never should have happened in the first place. The half time score is 21 - 10 in favor of A&M. The 3rd and 4th quarter would not get much better for Tech. We would score a TD at the 7 minute mark of the 3rd quarter with a great pass to Eric Harper. Matt goes out for the PAT and I am watching it on the Jumbotron and I think it is good. Oh no! Matt has missed a PAT. What the heck is going on? What just happened? For some reason I felt like it was my fault. I normally have my camera on him and I did not this time. I know what I will be doing next time. Things would not get much better as the game would end up 48 - 16 in favor of A&M. Once our bubble was busted we could not get any air back in! We had made our way over to where the team went into the locker room before the game was over. The first one to walk into the locker room after the game was Coach Franklin. I hope I do not get in trouble for saying this, but he looked like the mad scientist in the movie Back to the Future. He was not a happy camper. As the players started walking by the Tech fans that were there applauded as each player walked by. Even though we lost, these players played hard and their efforts were greatly appreciated. Matt walked by and had his “Mean Eyes” working. There were flames shooting out of them! I could tell he was pissed. We waited by the buses and Matt came out after about 20 minutes. I gave him a big hug and told him congrats on his FG and we loved him. First thing out of his mouth was I looked up! I did not keep my head down on the PAT. I know better! The miss was all me! The snap and hold was good. I guess it really goes like golf. If you do not keep you head down on your shot then crazy things are going to happen. Matt will probably get off the bus when they return to Ruston and go kick 50 PAT's. That is just his character! Matt got to visit with his mom (Janet), Tyler (older brother), Kasie (girl friend), Jake (great QB, great friend and Matt's holder in HS for 4 years) and several more family members and friends from high school. We said our goodbyes and headed back to Lot 50 to pack things up before heading back to Dallas. Thanks Jake for guiding us back to Lot 50! It was going to be a long night and we should hit Dallas around 2:30 AM. The things that stood out to me during the game were the defense. Even though we gave up 48 points as a team I was impressed with the intensity! There were some great plays on both sides of the ball, but Dusty Rust stood out to me more than anyone. I know he got a little banged up and did not play as much in the 3rd and 4th quarter, but he was a hitting/tackling machine and recovered a huge fumble in the first half. I hope all of our injuries are not too serious! I am still trying to figure out this offense. We need to figure out the QB situation and move forward. The musical chairs with the quarterbacks have got to stop. You are never going to develop any consistency by doing this. I am still looking for this high octane offensive scheme to actually work. I have confidence that Coach Dykes and his staff will get things turned around; I am just ready for the corner to be turned. A&M was an awesome experience for a fan! The fans were most gracious to us before and after the game. A special thanks to Joe & Julie Trevino for bringing their RV and providing a tailgate spot for us spend time with family and friends before the game. Thanks to everyone for bringing food/goodies and hung out with us. It was a blast! I am not happy with the loss, but it is time to move forward as we have to get ready for Navy. Navy is not going to be an easy task for us, but I like our chances at home. I think the first team to get to 30 will win. I have always wondered what a Midshipmen is! In the United States navy, the lowest grade of officers in line of promotion, being students or graduates of the Naval Academy awaiting promotion to the rank of ensign. Thanks to all of our armed forces for all that you do for this country! I am looking forward to playing Navy in Ruston. I am hoping for a full stadium, a win and a great experience! We will have several family members (John, Carol, Meggie, Papaw, David, Mike, Melynda, Mikayla and Tyler) coming to the Navy game. We will be in tailgate spot 52 again this year. I look forward to meeting many more Tech fans. If you are out walking around please stop by. You can even watch Ross from Maxwell’s Market cook in spot 56! Now I get to learn how to really cook at a tailgate! I will end my A&M experience here! Good luck Bulldogs as you take on the Midshipmen from Navy! I appreciate all of those who are following my journey. I write from my heart and what my feelings are at that moment. Don’t forget to listen to my friends at BleedTechBlueRadio every Tuesday night from 6:00 – 8:00 PM. It should be a great show as always. May your Football Season be filled with many Football Victories, Sunny Smiles, Sandy Dreams and Travel Your Way! If you need help with your Travel Plans just let me know! Until our paths cross again, have a blessed week! College Football Dad!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Grambling 9/4/10

Game Day is here! Game 1 of the 2010 season against our neighbor to the west is right here, right now! I feel like I should be in the tunnel jumping up and down ready to run out on the field! Now I am out of breath! I am not exactly sure of the reason why the two teams have never played before. I think it will be a good thing for the community if the match-up could happen again. Matt had a good week of practice before the Grambling game. They have been working on different scenarios that could happen based on what the defensive penetration shows on film. I am not too worried as the timing from the Josh to Ross is pretty quick and Matt gets the ball up so quick! He was super stoked for the season to start. He has been working hard to maintain the same consistent leg swing through the ball on all kicks. When Matt talked to Josh Scobee during the summer he related the golf swing to the leg swing and told Matt to just do it smooth, consistent and slow down. When you try to swing too hard or quick that opens your hips up and your ball will not stay on its correct path. You can use this formula in football and in golf. Sounds like a no brainier to me, but I do not have 275lb + defensive players coming after me. I would be very quick and getting the hell out of the way! HaHa! Oh, I forgot my kicking career is over! Our game morning would start pretty early from Dallas. My wife and I along with David & Barbara (Janet's Aunt & Uncle) are the only one's going to this game. The Suburban is loaded with adult beverages, our La Tech tent and a few tailgate goodies. I am not cooking this time. I will pull out the cooking equipment at the Navy game. I purchased one of the tailgate spots in the white lot. I have never been to a game at the Independence Bowl, but I have heard horror stories about it. How bad can it be? On our drive over Matt called and wanted us to stop by the hotel and visit for a bit. They already had their team breakfast and special teams meeting and he had some time to kill before the team lunch and chapel. It was good to spend some time with Matt before the game. He seemed like he was in good spirits. It's tailgate time. We make our way to Popeye's for some grub to add to our other goodies and make our way to the stadium. I must admit that getting to the white lot is a cluster. I have never seen so much confusion. After about 20 minutes of a confused parking staff we make our way to the white lot. It is pretty cool how they have it set up where you get two spaces. This way you have room for the suburban and the tent. This was the first time we had set the tent up. We got it at the end of the year when the Tech Team Shop had their 50% off sale. It was a real sweet deal. After reading the instructions and my wife leading the directions we had a perfectly set up tent! From first observation Grambling had way more spots than La Tech folks. As the afternoon went on more people for La Tech showed up. All of the Grambling fans we met were very kind and loved their Grambling football. We got to spend some time with Mr. Ross Harper and Mr. Dave Matthiesen. It is always good to talk football with two of the most dedicated La Tech alumni I have had the good fortune to spend time with. As game time approaches we slam a few more brews and chow on our Popeye's spicy fried chicken. I knew the team would arrive the stadium at 4:30 and I wanted to be in the stands around 5:00 so I could watch Matt warm up. We loaded everything back into the suburban and headed to the stadium. Once we got to our seats I got to see the new blue pants in person. When they were first announced as part of the uniforms this year I did not like them, but after seeing them in person I sort of like them. I sure wish we were the home team. The visitors side is going to be hot and lots of sun! Matt looked good in warm-ups by himself and with Ross holding. I am very excited to see what the new offensive is going to look like. It's game time and I am ready. Our first two drive look good. I think we need to throw the ball down the field some. The defense is stacking up on the line and our short passes are not getting us much yardage. Matt's first field goal attempt was good from 39 yards on the right hash. He looked like he got a good leg swing on it. Before the half was over we get down to the 1yard line and go for it on 4th down and do not make it and we get down to the 8 yard line and attempt a 27 yard field goal. The 27 yard field goal is called wide left, but from my vantage point it looked like it was good. That is what happens when you have Midget height goal posts with college referees IMO! The goal post are college width but they are cut in half in height. It looked like to me that Matt got a little quick and his hips opened up. He will not be a happy camper at half. I was pretty impressed with some of the Grambling players and was surprised that they held us to 17 points. For the most part I was happy with the defense as we held them to only one field goal in the first half. I was looking forward to watching the Grambling band at half. I had seen them on TV before and now I got to see them in person. They did not disappoint. I knew Matt would be chomping at the bit to get back out there and kick some more field goals at the 27 yard make before the 2nd half started. I am sure that the Grambling fans did not appreciate it, but it was pretty funny to see Matt out there warming up while the band was still playing. That is what amazes me about Matt is when he has a miss that he returns to that distance until he perfects it. I just hope he gets another opportunity during the game. The second half did not go as I expected. Where was this high octane offense? Something is not clicking! Grambling would connect on another field goal in the 3rd quarter. We made a QB change at the beginning of the 4th quarter and it looked like we were able to move the ball down the field a little deeper. Colby marched the team down the field late in the 4th quarter and would set up a 45 yard field goal at the 2:08 mark. Matt made a smooth leg swing and down the middle it went. I was so glad he got another attempt. Matt lives for this and he would of been a bear to deal with this week. He needed that confidence boost heading into the Texas A&M game. I want to give a shout out to Vince Cano. This 45 yard field goal was his first time to get into a game at right guard. I look forward to seeing Vince play many more games! The game would end up at 20 to 6. A victory is a victory, but I wanted more! We should of hammered this team! We waited for Matt after the game. He had to go to the media room with Coach Dykes, Colby and Matt Broha. Here is a link to Coach Dykes and the players interviews after the game. Port City Classic Interviews! Matt finally made it out of the locker room. He was in good spirits, but he was still ruffled with the referees call on the 27 yard field goal. This is the kind of stuff that drives Matt and he will be just fine! While visiting with Matt we got to meet Ray Holley and Patrick Walsh. Ray is going to be a stud running back and is a super nice young man. I was very impressed with the way he ran the ball north & south. We also got to visit with Coach Harrington and Coach Thomas Graham. They are just great people! It is time for Matt to head to the bus. We make our way back to the tailgate area and sip on a couple of brews and visit with some of the remaining Grambling fans. All in all I am happy with the win, but I want to see more! I don't know if we were holding our cards close prior to the A&M game or not. We are going into a very hostile tradition rich stadium next week and we need to pick up the pace. I know this is early in the season, but we have some awesome athletes and great a great coaching staff! The time is now to move this team forward! Sorry for my soap box! With Texas A&M coming up this Saturday we need really be prepared! I don't feel liked getting Gigged by the Aggies! What the heck does Gig 'em mean anyway? After research this is what I came up with. Rather than end a conversation with "goodbye," many conversations between Aggies end with "gig 'em," usually accompanied by a hand signal in which the hand is fisted and the thumb extends upwards in a Thumbs up. This tradition began at a 1930 Midnight Yell Practice held before the football game against the Texas Christian University Horned Frogs. In an attempt to excite the crowd, Pinky Downs, a 1906 Texas A&M graduate and member of the school's Board of Regents, asked "What are we going to do to those Horned Frogs?" Using a term for frog hunting, he answered his own question, "Gig 'em, Aggies!" We are looking forward to the A&M game. With most of our family in Texas and some coming over from Florida the Nelson clan will be in full force. We bought 24 tickets from the Tech ticket office. Wow this is a lot of family. Our good friends from Cibolo (Sib-a-low) Joe & Julie Trevino have been kind enough to bring their RV and have a RV tailgate spot in Lot 50. We will be in space 26 if anyone is in that area. The 12th Man Shuttle runs to the stadium from Lot 50 3 hours prior to the game and up to 1 hour after the game. Everyone who is traveling to the game please have a safe trip. I hope everyone has a good week. I look forward to meeting more La Tech fans at the A&M game. If you want to buy some pictures of your favorite players make sure and visit La Tech Sports Pix. There are some pretty incredible shots from the Grambling game. Also don’t forget to listen to my friends at BleedTechBlueRadio every Tuesday night from 6:00 – 8:00 PM. It should be a great show as always. Good luck Bulldogs as you take on the Aggies! I appreciate all of those who are following my journey. I write from my heart and what my feelings are at that moment. May your Football Season be filled with many Football Victories, Sunny Smiles, Sandy Dreams and Travel Your Way! If you need help with any of your travel plans just let me know! Until our paths cross again, have a blessed week! College Football Dad!