Sunday, August 7, 2011

Let the Games Begin 2011

With the heat wave in full force this can only mean one thing. College Football fall camp is staring me in the eye. The anticipation is intense and I can smell the sweat dripping off of my forehead. Let the games begin, please! Enough of this waiting and torture! The team checks in the dorm at 2:00 pm today and a team meeting will be held later this afternoon. Matt will be rooming with Ryan Allen. Matt is very excited about the upcoming season and feels the team has really come together over the offseason. He is looking forward to getting the entire team back together. He said the mindset of the team is different this year and the whole team is completely focused on the team goals. Once the Spring Game was over Matt went to work to improve his strength with the help of Damon and Thomas. He has made significant gains over the summer. Not only has he spent his offseason in the weight room he has put in the field time perfecting his kicking game. His mental toughness always amazes me. He must have got that gene from his Mom. Since this is my first blog during the 2011 season I thought I would reflect on some of the things that Matt has spent his offseason doing besides his obligations to the La Tech football team and his studies earning his finance degree. Once Spring Football was finished Matt went back to work at Squire Creek Country Club. Some of Matt's responsibilities included getting the members clubs on the carts, picking up the balls on the range, cleaning the carts, running food and beverages out to the members on the course, setting up the range along with anything else that Brad needed him to do. With Matt's love of golf working at Squire Creek has been a blessing. Matt said that working the Big Whit golf tournament to raise money for the Whit 77 Foundation was an awesome experience. Andrew Whitworth who plays for the Cincinnati Bengals had several big time athletes come in to play golf and help him raise money for his foundation. Matt got to visit with Mike Nugent, Andy Dalton, Rey Maualuga and Joseph Addai. Since Squire Creek does not have hole signs on the course Matt got to take these guys to the hole they were starting on. He said Joseph Addai was hilarious and had never swung a golf club before so he got to witness Joseph's very first attempted golf shot. The other thing that stands out was while preparing things before the Bradshaw-Brooks golf tournament is he finally got to meet Mr. Bradshaw. He said that talking to Terry will be something he will remember for a lifetime. Matt and a few other players attended the Hico Elementary/IIC Picnic in May. Toni Patrick Cox set everything up with the players so the kids could have such a grand day. They played softball, autographed their shirts and ate lunch with the kids during their big day. Along with working at Squire Creek Matt would intern at Crossroads Church. He would be working with the youth group. (7th - 12th) During the summer Matt would mentor these kids, have bible study and hang out with them during their group outings. One of their outings included a 5 day trip to New Orleans/Gentily. They helped restore a house and a church that were located 1/2 mile from the levee that broke during Katrina. They laid plywood down for new flooring, primed walls for new paint, cleared out the attics along with many other tasks. Matt said this experience would stay with him forever and was so blessed to be able to be associated with these amazing kids from Crossroads Church and helping others. In the first part of the summer Matt moved into a house just off of Tech Dr. with Will Stagg (Should be on the Tech Golf team & interns with Matt at Crossroads Church) and Ben Carlisle ( Pitcher on the Tech Baseball team) It's a pretty cool 3 bedroom, 2 bath house. On top of this I forgot to mention the sumer workout schedule. The first part of the summer the workouts were M,T,T & F with W off. The second part of the summer the worked out M,T,W,T & F. Somedays they lifted and somedays they ran. 2 to 3 times a week he would get with Taylor Burch and Josh Cuthbert to work on their timing from snap to hold to kick. He feels like they have a great chemistry. For those who follow Matt know that he has spent most of his kicking career working with Chris Boniol. Now that Chris was hired by the Dallas Cowboys he can no longer work with Matt. With that being said Matt has developed a relationship with Josh Scobee. Josh recommended that Matt contact Coach Gary Zauner in Phoenix. After a few conversations with Coach Zauner Matt made a trip out to Phoenix to spend a few days working with him. Josh was out there working with Coach Zauner during the same timeframe. Coach Zauner reduced some of Matt's crunch when he comes through the ball so that he can finish his follow through up the field and relax his left arm bar during the downswing. Coach Zauner told him there would be no more walking like a chicken. You would have to see the video, but kicking with a crunch involved looking like a chicken walking. HaHa! Matt returned with some great things to work on and once mastered he will be kicking the ball straighter and further with less effort. Some of the kickers that Coach Zauner works with are Josh Scobee, Jeff Reed, Sebastian Janikowski, Billy Cundiff, Garrett Hartley, Jon Ryan and several other Pro and College kickers. This summer Matt has worked with some of the local high school kickers as well. He has helped the kickers from Captain Shreve, CE Byrd, West Monroe, Ruston and Steele high school. (Steele HS is where Matt attended in Texas) I think it is awesome that Matt takes the time to work with these young men to help them improve their kicking game along with discussing their mental approach to the game.
Matt got to come home last week after summer workouts were over. It was good to get to spend some time with him before the season starts. We spent a lot of time at Top Golf and actually got to go play 18 holes at Fred Couples course (The Bridges) where the old man showed Matt he could still beat him. Actually I only beat him by one stroke. With Matt's competitive juices flowing he has already requested a rematch. I will have time to brush up on my golf since Matt won’t be playing until after the season. Matt did have to buy dinner to pay off his bet! We found out this summer that Matt was on the College Performance Award watch list. We thought that was pretty cool. He was proud to be mentioned and excited the Matt Broha and Lennon Creer were also on the list. Wow, I am out of breath. I am not sure I can keep up with Matt's pace. I hope this gives you a little insight to Matt's summer as he gets ready for fall camp and the first game of the season at Southern Miss. We are very proud of Matt and his accomplishments. We look forward to the opening kickoff. I feel good about this team and I know good things are going to happen this year. Please get here soon as I need my tailgating fix. I hope everyone has an awesome summer and I look forward to meeting you at the games. My next blog will be after camp and then I will continue through the season with each game. I appreciate all of those who are following my journey. It is such a blast to follow Matt Nelson through his eyes and the Bulldog team! I write from the bottom of my heart and what my feelings are at that moment and sometimes I get a little carried away. I am very passionate about La Tech Football! I am just a College Football Fan and I love football! Until our paths cross again, have a blessed week! College Football Dad!