Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Mississippi St 9/24/11

I can't get this memory out of my head. I keep reliving us dominating these pussycats from Hobby Airport for nearly 3 quarters and then they humiliate us in the 4th quarter. I know I cannot do anything about it, but this one really hurts. We had them so confused and then they made adjustments to steal something I would like to taste in the near future! A Big Fat W! I really feel like we are very close and we are so much further ahead of last year! It is time to move on. I just needed to rant one more time. Thanks for listening. Now it is time to get ready for the rednecks. These cowgirls sure have fascination with their cowbells! I bet each player who gets a playbook also takes a cowbell home to sleep with. I was reading the online edition of their visitor's guide and it said that Starkville had a large population of goats and stumps. I wonder why they keep track of that number? That sounds like something that might be in the "How to be a Redneck Guide" On top of all of that they stole our mascot. They are not real Bulldogs! Don't they know who the real Bulldogs are? Even though I spoke to Matt several times this week he was pretty quiet.
I am not saying he was not excited about the game, but more of a focused quiet. He said the team had pretty good practices early in the week, but things really picked up towards the end of the week. He said he kicked the ball well the whole week. They did work on some specialty kicks during the week, but not as many as the last 2 weeks. I guess it all depends on the situation whether you kick deep, pooch, squib, fake or surprise on-sides.
I just wish they would kick it deep as long as we can get down and cover. Matt said his hang time has been between 4 and 4.3 seconds on his deep kicks. I think we should be able to cover very well with those hang times. Matt said they would leave around 11:00AM and would  do a walk through at the stadium before going to the hotel. The team stayed in Tupelo. He said the hotel was probably the worst he has stayed in during all of their travels. He said that turning on the AC was like pulling the cord on a lawn mower. That sounds real redneck to me! I originally thought I was going to make my way over the Starkville for the game.
I had spent most of my week in Bentonville, Houston, San Antonio and Austin. I was pretty drained and decided that 8 hours each way was more than I wanted to tackle. I told Mr. Rust I would be there and now I am going to be on the doo doo list! I felt bad for Matt, when I spoke with him about it he was ok with it. This was going to be a very strange Saturday for me. Normally I am setting up the tailgate spot and tossing down a few adult beverages. It looks like it is going to be ESPN College Game Day at 9:00AM and then all of the college football I can swallow until 6:00PM Then it is ESPNU and the real Bulldogs! Janet's Aunt & Uncle (David & Barbara) were going to come over and watch the game. Barbara was making wings and we decided to get make it while you wait, take it home with you & bake when you want pizzas from Papa Murphy's.
If you have not tried this concept you are missing out. The thin crust with olive oil and garlic instead of pizza sauce with whatever your topping flavors are is the bomb. I would prefer to make my homemade pizza, but in a pinch Papa Murphy's is my go to pizza. On top of that I can bake it when I want to. Hot and fresh out of my oven. The day has gone by way faster than I anticipated. 6:00PM is here before I know it and Matt is about to kickoff. The kickoff is away and it is another touch-back. Great way to start! MSU goes 10 plays and has to punt and they pin us down on our 3 yard line. Great first stance by our defense for the opening series. We run 3 plays and have to punt! What type of play calls are these? RA gets off a booming punt for 72 yards and then MSU runs the punt back 82 yards for a touchdown. What just happened? We get a punt off like that and we can't cover that! We looked like we were in slow motion. Please pinch me and tell me it is not true!
It looks like JC might have been hurt on the play. He is not putting much pressure on his leg. I sure hope it is not too bad of an injury. I don't guess I even know who the backup deep snapper is. Tech gets the ball and runs off 8 plays and it is 4th down. I hate watching games at home. Whenever Matt kicks a FG or PAT I have to stand behind the couch where I can barely see the TV. I wish I knew why I had to do this. I had plenty of drawers on tonight, so no worries if I had an accident. Matt comes out for a 43 yard FG with a new deep snapper. I still don't know who it is. The snap is good, the hold is good and the FG is good! Hoo Ya! It looks like CL is now taking on the role of deep snapper. Now I can get back in my big brown chair. MSU gets the ball back and we force them to punt. Tech gets the ball and runs 8 plays and the 1st quarter come to an end with MSU up 7 -3. We start the 2nd quarter off with 2 quick passes and LC bangs it to the outside for a 4 yard TD run. The PAt is good and Tech now leads 10 - 7.
We trade punts and MSU goes 61 yards on 8 plays and scores a TD. MSU adds a FG late in the 2nd quarter and takes the lead into halftime 17 -10. We are playing pretty good. We are still right there. Now it is time for some more red wine along with our pizza and wings. Now this is good stuff right here! MSU kicks off to start the 3rd quarter and kicks it out of bounds. Tech will start at their 40. We run 3 plays and have to punt. When we have 3rd down whatever yards and we are going to pass, we have to at least get our receivers to catch the ball past the first down marker. MSU runs 7 plays and punts! Tech gets the ball and drives 6 plays and NI connects with QP for a 14 yard TD. The PAT is good and Tech is now tied 17 - 17. MSU connects on a 24 yard FG and now leads 20 - 17 as the 3rd quarter comes to an end! We start the 4th quarter off punting to MSU. They run 1 play and QG intercepts the pass. Now this is what I am talking about! Tech drives 11 plays and Matt comes out to kick a 28 yard FG. The kick is up and it is good! We are now tied 20 -20 with 8:42 to play. We can do this! Let's go dawgs! We force MSU to punt and Tech runs off 11 plays before MSU intercepts NI in the end-zone.
My heart just sunk! I thought we would score a TD or at minimum a FG. There is still 3:38  to play, so we still have plenty of time. We force MSU to punt after 3 plays and now it is our time. We start the drive on our 35 yard line and we run 3 plays and punt. What the heck are you doing TF? Are you trying to call plays to win the game or sit back and take your chances in OT? I don't agree with your play calling! Come On Man! We hold MSU and the 4th quarter comes to an end. Oh the chances we had to end this in regulation. Looks like we will head into our 2 OT game of the season. Tech starts OT with the ball and on the 2nd play MSU intercepts NI's pass. Oh this is not good! MSU takes their turn and in 2 plays they score and MSU wins 26 - 20. Please tell me that this did not happen. We are so close and I so want wins for this team. They played their hearts out. I know the players play the game and the coaches coach the game, but we had some stupid plays called at times. I wish CD would give TF a stiff kick in the ass and tell him to get with the program! I just do not understand TF at all. Maybe he will fool me one day! Until then I will agree to disagree with him. Matt called right before he boarded the bus. You could tell in his voice that he was pretty upset.
He really thought that this was the game that they would prevail in. He said that he was very concerned when JC went down, but CL did an awesome job on the deep snaps. He said on the 43 yard FG that he made sure to wait on the ball since he has not taken very many snaps with CL. He said that he thought Idaho was bad because the fans are on top of him when he warms up on the sideline, but the cow bells were so loud it was insane! He said this team has worked so hard and to lose these games like this is very painful. We said our good byes as it was time to board the bus. These are times when I wish I could talk to him in person. All I can do is be there for him and hope I say the right things at the right time! I sit here and go through the plays in my head and I still do not understand some of the play calls. I did not say all, I said some of them during the times where you need to position yourself to win the game. We need to put people away and learn how to finish these teams off. Hindsight is 20/20, but my what I am seeing is still a little blurry with some of the play calls! I guess I need  to leave the MSU game alone! Sometimes my fingers don't say the right things. Hawaii is my focus now! It will be a Red Out game at the Joe! Moniz is an awesome QB, but his time to shine will be left on the islands. He will be so confused when he leaves Ruston with his hula skirt on his head! I want to tear these hula skirt wearing ladies a new one. Now that they are leaving the WAC, it is time for a beat down. They need to be eating pine cones when this game is over. The WAC is ours for the taking and game #1 starts this Saturday! I am ready to drive over now and get this thing started!
It is such a blast to follow Matt Nelson through his eyes and the Bulldog team! I might not say the right things, but I write from the bottom of my heart and what my feelings are during the week and during the game. I don't intend to hurt anyone's feelings, but I am very passionate about La Tech football. My opinions on the coaches and their decisions are only mine and no one else's. Many thanks to Mr. Tom Morris with La Tech Sports Pix for allowing me to use some of his photos for this blog. He is such an amazing photographer really gets the most intense photo's of our Bulldogs! I also want to thank Mr. Slack for use of his photo's as well! Don't forget to listen to J Ford with Bleed Tech Blue on ESPN 97.7 FM every Tuesday night at 6:00 PM. My your Football Season be filled with many Football Victories, Sunny Smiles, Sandy Dreams and Travel Your Way! Until our paths cross again, have a blessed week! College Football Dad!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Houston 9/17/11

I think I have finally removed all of the honey that these darn honey bears left on me. This team from the middle of nowhere  Arkansas poured enough honey on me that I thought I was going to have to wear the honey pot home. No way was I going to do that. Even though we were down with not much time left, I saw a team come together and believe in each other! A win is a win no matter what.
There are good wins and ugly wins and I will take a win every time! Now we have to get ready for the pussycats. Since I have spent most of my early beer drinking days following the pussycats I was somewhat familiar with their offensive approach! I think they call it an “Air Raid” You have a 6th year senior who is going to break all of the U of H passing records and you know he is going to try to rack up the yards. I feel confident that our defensive coaches will come up with schemes that CK has yet to see.
I talked to Matt everyday during the week. I am freaking out at some of the things that he has shared with me. The team is jacked and the emotions are running higher than normal. Practices have been intense and his kicks with team have gone well. Matt shared with me some of the kicks they were practicing and I fainted twice. Wal-Mart is going to make so much money off of me this year. I hope they keep my brand of drawers in stock! I never knew there were so many kinds of kicks that a team could prepare for. I guess I will have to wait and see what really happens, but if they do a few of them I am going to be spending more time in the men’s room than normal!
Our journey to Ruston starts late Friday afternoon. My dad’s sisters were going to be in town for the game. They all have been in trying their luck at slots and blackjack. My dad and my uncle Bob even found time to go visit Mr. Ross at Maxwell’s Market on Thursday. Ross has such a great selection of stuff to choose from that I could stay there all day just looking. My dad picked up some LA 31 which is a lager that drinks like a fine IPA. Man was it good! Make sure and visit Ross with Maxwell’s Market next time you are in Shreveport. Once we made our way to Ruston. I knew I needed to go to Matt’s and get all of the tailgate stuff.
I wanted to get setup before the morning. I called my dad when we were a few miles away and he said to meet him at the tailgate spot before we went to Matt’s. Ok, this is just wasting time. Heck no it was not! All of my tents, tables and grills were all setup. You have to be kidding me! This is so awesome! Please let me have a beer!
Many thanks to all of those involved in the Miracle that happened at tailgate spot 52! While I was celebrating this awesome good deed with my parents, Aunt Suzi, Uncle Glen, Aunt Pat, Uncle Bob, and my awesome wife, Mr. Harper showed up to visit for a little bit. Mr. Harper is such an incredible person and a good friend! I know he and my parents drive the furthest of everyone too every home game. 12 Hours each way is dedication!
It was getting pretty late, but we still had time to run to Ponchatoula’s for an awesome meal. It was really good! We made our way to the room and enjoyed a nice bottle of wine before retiring. Morning came pretty early, but the excitement of game day had me wide awake! After a quick stop at Walley World for ice we made our way to the tailgate spot. I was ready for this one. On the menu this morning was bacon and pancakes. I was going to test my new old school flat top out again. Cajun Mary’s and jacked up cranberry juice was the morning adult beverage. Dan “The Equipment Man” Matthiesen came by early so I could test out the bacon and the special pancake mix.
Dan approved so I knew I could proceed and serve the rest of the group. Coming to the stadium early in the morning and making it an all day affair is an awesome experience. I wish more would do the same thing. I kid you not the aroma of bacon cooking outdoors makes you want to put a little of the fat behind your ears. It has an amazing scent and what a great thing to share. Everyone approved of the food so that was a feel good thing! After cleaning everything up it was time for a little me time in my chair and a cold beer in my hand.
I had 2 hours to kill before we had to get ready for lunch. Mr. Harper and Mr. Hamm came by to visit. My dad brought a special bottle of red wine and we celebrated with Bobby (tailgate neighbor) I don't know how many of you who have been to Alaska or not, but Alaskan Amber is the bomb! Tyler & Matt both had friends who went to Alaska over the summer and brought me a few bottles back. With memories of Alaska we had a special moment as we savored the awesome brew! It is always great to visit with them on game day! On the menu was beef and chicken fajitas with all of the fixings’ We fired up the Weber Kettle grill with our special blend of mesquite lump charcoal and got the flat top ready for our mix of onions and peppers.
We had a super large group this weekend. Janet’s parents (Meggie & Papaw), brother (Mike), sister-n-law (Melynda), niece (Mikayla), Aunt Barbara and Uncle David made their way to Ruston as well. The family support is so fantastic. We see family more during football season than we do the rest of the year. It’s a good thing! Matt attending La Tech has been such a blessing to all of our families.
The grill and flat top is good to go. Since we had so much food to cook we had to setup an assembly line. Mike (Brother-n-law) manned the flat top and took care of the peppers, onions and tortillas and Papaw (Father-n-law) to care of all of the slicing of the fajitas. We timed everything just right and everything was good to go. Let the feast begin! I am telling you these fajitas were amazing! Everyone brought stuff to go with the fajitas so toppings of any kind were available.
While we were stuffing our faces, Ross from the world famous Maxwell’s Market brought us some of his super jumbo shrimp with one of his magical sauces to sample. I think I need to bathe in that sauce. The shrimp were wonderful as well. Thanks so much for the samples. Mr. Rust came by and we loaded him up with as many fajitas as he could eat. He just was not sure after the first one if it was any good so he had to try a few more. At the end I think he came to the conclusion that they were darn good.
You know when you eat this much food you need to kick back and take a nap. Oh I wish I could, but the team has just arrived and I need to go see what type of face Matt has on. I got a head nod as he walked by so I knew it was game on. It is time to pick as much up as we can before we head to the stadium. Janet has made her way to her seat to watch Matt warm-up. She has to know exactly how his rhythm is and she can only do this visually! Mr. Rust and I share a few more adult beverages and then make our way to the stadium. We find some of the family and take our seats on the 2nd level, front row behind the band. I am just going to throw this out there, but I hate tuba's! Excitement is in the air. I don’t hear any air raid signals so I know we are ready for a battle.
The team comes down the tunnel and we have smoke and now we have adult sparklers and a canon that fires off after every score. Matt kicks off and drives it deep for a touchback! Houston goes 4 and out and we take possession and drive down the field and score on an LC 1 yard rush. Matt connects with the PAT and Tech is up 7 – 0. The 2nd quarter starts and we drive down the field and Matt connects on a 30 yard FG. Houston comes back and scores and then Tech drives down and scores as well. Then Tech gets the ball back and drives down to set Matt up for a 47 yard FG. Matt goes out to kick and Coach Levine from Houston calls timeout to try and ice Matt. Matt's general rule is to go off of the field and come back in to the field of play like he is going out for the first time. Coach Levine recruited Matt pretty hard before Matt made the commitment to attend the great university of Louisiana Tech and I know he wanted to test his mental toughness. The snap is good, the hold is good and the kick is on it's way and Matt connects for a 47 yard FG. That young man is back. MB picks him up in celebration ! How cool is that? This is awesome! Matt kicks a squib kick and the half comes to an end! Happy Dance! Tech goes in at half ahead of Houston 20 – 7. Can you believe? Congrats to Ms. Toni for winning the Ultimate Tech Fan award at halftime! Sounds like a sushi celebration to me! I am stoked right now! Tech is playing lights out. The 3rd quarter begins and after a series by both teams Tech drives down and sets up for a 42 yard FG and one of those wacky plays takes place as a fake FG is executed to perfection. Matt fakes the kick,
TB completes a 12 yard pass to MB and a first down is achieved. Hoo Ya! Matt had 2 guys coming in from the sides to take on and when they tried to get up Matt grabbed both of their legs for a double take down! I am sure the adrenaline had kicked in! Thank goodness the refs were watching this well executed play and not the double take down! 2 plays later and the end zone is our friend. Wow! This is amazing! The 3rd quarter ends with each team scoring and Tech is up 34 – 14! I am starting to do a happy dance, but I know in the back of my mind that the pussycats have a quick scoring offense. The 4th quarter begins and before I can come back from the men’s room the pussycats have scored twice. What is going on? Where is this conservative play calling coming from? This looks like Guy V Lewis trying to win a national championship against NC State in 1983. It is not going to work and it did not work as U of H scores again! We worked so hard to have this happen!
Tech gets the ball back and our coach’s clock management rears its ugly head! Our clock management is like pee wee football. What the heck are we doing? The game comes to an end with the pussycats wining 35 – 34. This is not right! This team and the fans deserve more! How can you let a QB snap the ball with 10 plus seconds on the play clock? Something is not right or are coaching staff is not on the same page. Please explain to me how this happens. This would have been a signature victory for this program we lay a silver egg! I hope CD takes responsibility for this loss. I am not pleased! We make our way up to visit with Matt after the game.
Matt makes his way out and you can tell he is upset! His passion for this team and winning shows all over his face! He did not want to talk about his personal achievements as it did not matter. A win is a win and a loss is a loss as a team. There are no personal victories in football! Even though Tech lost it was pretty cool to see the kids come up to Matt and ask for his autograph. My thoughts are going everywhere as this team should be 3 – 0! I put the blame on the coaches. This is my opinion only! I can’t say anymore as I will probably step outside the box and say something that I will regret! My mouth and fingers are closed! I am proud of this team and will support them no matter what! We made our way to Rasing Canes and brought food back to the hotel to eat. Matt and Kasie met us at the hotel and we all ate dinner together.
After we finished eating dinner Matt received a call from BC (roommate) and he informed Matt that their house was flooded and they had 3 inches of water in every room of the house. We made our way over to Matt’s house and sure as shoot there was water flowing out of every door and the whole house was completely flooded. A hose on the washer had busted and water flowed for about 4 hours before it was cut off. The guys had several friends who came over to help and some went to the church to get wet vacs to help get the water out. I cannot believe the whole house is flooded. We help Matt as much as we can and about 1:30AM we head back to the hotel. I felt horrible for the guys. Matt’s computer was dripping water and everything in all of the guy’s room was soaking wet. I hope the land lord has insurance and can help these guys out. We loaded up and left early Sunday AM headed back to North Dallas. With my new job with Drytac I had a 5:00PM flight to Bentonville Sunday afternoon and time was of the essence.
Many thanks to Aunt Pat, Uncle Bob, Aunt Suzi and Uncle Glen for making the long journey down from Kansas City. Words cannot say thanks enough! I also want to wish a very special 14th birthday to my niece Mikayla! Happy Birthday from Uncle J! Many thanks to all of those who helped cook and clean up after the game. We are blessed with such a great family! Mississippi State is up next. The cow bell groupies are herding in their barns! The Texas A&M colored team is a bulldog want a be team! I don’t know much about them except we are going to offer up a butt kicking to these cow bell clanging rednecks! Listen to me! I am talking like a Mississippi State redneck! Not! I am talking like a La Tech Bulldog who is going to kick some cow bell butt! I will leave the pussycat game alone as I mentally prepare for this fake bulldog team in Starksville! Find a new mascot! The real bulldog is already taken! I appreciate all of those who are following my journey. It is such a blast to follow Matt Nelson through his eye and the Bulldog team! I might not say the right things, but I write from the bottom of my heart and what my feelings are during the week and during the game.
I don’t intend to hurt anyone, but I am very passionate about La Tech Football! My opinions on the coaches and their decisions are only mine and no one else’s. Don’t forget to listen to J Ford with Bleed Tech Blue on ESPN 97.7 FM every Tuesday night. May your Football Season be filled with many Football Victories, Sunny Smiles, Sandy Dreams and Travel Your Way! Until our paths cross again, have a blessed week! College Football Dad!

Central Arkansas 9/10/11

I think I am finally drying out and my fingers and toes are no longer looking like prunes. I was beginning to wonder if they would go back to their original shape. I know I am old, but I am not ready for permanent wrinkles! I'm still pretty disappointed that we lost that game. I guess I need to take Matt's advice and only dwell on it that night because the next morning we start preparing for the next game. Onto the Central Arkansas game we go. I don't know that much about Central Arkansas except they have a couple of D1 SEC transfers, they sport a nice purple color on their jersey and they have a honey bear on their helmet. Our journey started later than normal but that is okay. The most important thing is we get to go to the game and spend time with family and friends. I talked to Matt several times during the week after practice and he said everything is going really well. He said the teams emotions are running very high and the passing game seems to be really clicking!
He said he kicked the ball really well and spent part of the time with team working on some crazy kicks in case the situation presented itself. Is Coach Dooley back calling the special teams plays? I'm still not a huge fan of all this crazy stuff. I guess they want me to wear extra drawers all the time! He did say that he cannot wait to get on the field on game day and was ready to kick some butt. We met my parents at Matt's house Friday night to load up the rest of the tailgate stuff. Matt has a storage shed in his backyard and it sure makes it sweet not to have to haul all of the tailgate stuff back and forth. It was great seeing my parents. The last time we were together was Christmas. We loaded everything up and made our way to tailgate spot number 52. After we unloaded we realized that the tent weights were missing. This is not a good! Since the team had already left for the team hotel we are in a mess with no extra key to Matt’s car. Janet decided to go check his car and luckily his back door was open. We now have tent weights except there are chicken feathers all over them. I am sure Matt will have a wild story about the chicken feathers.
Now that the tents and tables are all set up I am in need of an adult beverage. It was pretty late so we hung out at Johnny's Pizza before heading to the hotel. We watched a little football and opened a nice bottle wine. We visited with my parents a bit and then it was lights out. 6 AM came really early, but what the heck. It was game day and you need to soak up every minute of it. We made an ice run at 7:45 AM and then it was off to tailgate spot number 52. After we unload of the rest of the stuff it was Bloody Mary time! This is awesome! Football season in Ruston is now here and I am stoked. I brought a new grill with me on this trip. I have always wanted to cook on old-school diner type flat top griddle. Hot sausage, hash browns and scrambled eggs would be on our breakfast menu.
Nothing goes better with Bloody Mary’s than the good ole breakfast taco. I must admit they were darn good. It is now time to kick back and visit with our tailgate neighbors. We had lot’s of great people come visit. Bradley Walker, Dusty McGehee John Hamm, Mr. Ross Harper, Ms. Tony, Mr. & Mrs Garland, Mr. Rust, Dan Matthiesen, J Ford and Ross Barclay just to name a few. Speaking of Dan Mathiesen I need to give a shout out to him and the rest of the equipment/training staff. They do not get enough credit for everything they do along with the long/late hours they put in. Many thanks for everything that you all do. Janet's mom/dad and aunt/uncle all made their way over for the game from Houston and Dallas. All the family support is awesome! Our lunch today was going to be green chili cheese burgers, dogs and jalapeno sausage all cooked on my new old-school flattop Grill.
My goal this year is to serve lunch between 2:00 PM and 2:30 PM for 6 PM games. This way we can get stuff cleaned up and spend time with family and friends before the game. I am stoked to cook burgers and dogs on the flattop. My tailgate neighbor Mr. Bobby Cockrell is grilling design your own shish kebabs. This is an awesome idea where each guest can make their own flavor. One of the guests is making fruit cobbler and a Dutch oven.
I have seen this process on TV but not in real life. The canned fruit goes in and the cake mix goes on the top of that with lots of pats of butter. Nine hot coals go underneath the Dutch oven and 17 hot coals go on top. I'm not sure what this concept of 9 and 17 hot coals is, but after 45 minutes you have a perfect cobbler.  Most of our family has already gone in to watch Matt warm-up. Mr. Rust and I talk strategy over a few adult beverages before we head into the stadium. It’s a beautiful afternoon for a football game. I am not sure what to expect of the team after the Southern Miss game, but I hope to see the same intensity by our defense and some new schemes on offense since we are not playing on a pond!
It’s game time baby! In the first quarter NI and QP hook up for 2 scores on a couple of long bombs and CA puts up 10 points. The second quarter we exchange TD’s and go into half with a score of 21 – 17. I am not sure of what to think so far except our defense is not the same I witnessed at the SM game. I was glad they were letting Matt kick deep on his kickoffs. No funny stuff please! We kickoff to start the 3rd quarter and CA comes away with a FG. Then we march down the field with 2 quick TD’s and are up 35 to 20. I like what I am seeing. Let’s keep this going! We give up a bomb to CA to end the 3rd quarter. Tech is up 35 – 27. The 4th quarter starts off with another bomb by CA and the make the 2 point conversion.
I do not believe what I am seeing. These honey bears have tied the game at 35 -35. At the 5:15 mark in the 4th quarter Matt goes out for a 46 yard FG to take the lead and he pushes it slightly right. Man, I know he is going to beat himself up with this one. There is still plenty of time. CA gets the ball back and we intercept a pass and we are now in control. As we march down the field for a possible game winning FG we fumble the ball at the CA 27 and they run it back for a TD. This is really not happening! Is this a dream? We get the ball back at the 2:08 mark and march down the field for a 7 yard rush TD by RH. The PAT is good and this will be my first OT game to witness. I don’t know how to explain my emotions right now. This roller coaster is not good for me and the bottled water is not helping either. Oh adult beverage where are you? CA starts overtime and we stop them on 3 straight plays and they try a 39 yard FG and our defense penetrates and we block the FG. Are you kidding me? Someone please pinch me. Ok guys we have 4 plays to either get the ball across the line or through the goal post.
We run 3 straight running plays and LC rams her home. Can you believe? Oh my! Thank goodness for the extra drawers as they came in real handy for this game. I am lost for words and I am better off to keep my mouth shut and celebrate the win. The only thing I will say is that our play calling on both sides of the ball needs to get with the program! We went up to see Matt after the game. He hugged everyone’s neck and did not say too much. He was very happy with the win, but felt that he let the team down when he missed the FG to take the lead late in the 4th quarter. We went back to the tailgate area and Matt came over for a few minutes. We said our goodbyes and went back to the hotel. We met Matt, Ben and Will (Matt’s roommates) for breakfast at the Waffle House for breakfast. Matt seemed to be in better sprits! He said after he left the tailgate area Saturday night he went up to watch film. CT saw him and asked him what the hell he was doing. Matt said “Coach I want to watch film of all of my kicks. CT told him to get his ass out of the film room and go enjoy the win.
Matt amazes me more every day. He is such a perfectionist at his craft. His mental toughness and approach to a game still amazes me every week as he prepares for a game. He will grow from this and be ready for the next kick. His goal is to always go 1 for 1 and that approach will take him far. We finished breakfast and headed back to North Dallas. I will leave the CA game here. I could go on and on with my thoughts, but a win is a win and we move forward. I want to give a special shout out to special teams this week. The kickoff team, punt team, the return team and the FG team. Also a special shout out to JC, RA and TB. The deep snaps, punts and the holds have been awesome so far this year. Oh my, next week does not get any easier as the high potent offense of the U of H Pussycats come to town. CK is a 6th year senior and has some amazing passing stats during his career. I spent a lot of my younger life following the pussycats during the run & shoot days. That was some exciting offense during that time. It should be a great game! I am very excited about our U of H tailgate. My Aunt’s & Uncles are coming down from Kansas City. They follow Matt and La Tech every Saturday from the Show Me State!
My parents will be back, Janet’s parents along with her Aunt & Uncle will be back and my brother-in-law, sister-n-law and my niece will be making their first game of the season. It will be a true family affair. I appreciate all of those who are following my journey. It is such a blast to follow Matt Nelson through his eye and the Bulldog team! I might not say the right things, but I write from the bottom of my heart and what my feelings are during the week and during the game. I don’t intend to hurt anyone, but I am very passionate about La Tech Football! My opinions on the coaches and their decisions are only mine and no one else’s. Don’t forget to listen to J Ford at Bleed Tech Blue on ESPN 97.7 FM every Tuesday night. May your Football Season be filled with many Football Victories, Sunny Smiles, Sandy Dreams and Travel Your Way! Until our paths cross again, have a blessed week! College Football Dad!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Southern Miss - 9/3/11

My heartbeat has increased and the anticipation is racing every left hand turn I can find! Do you know what this week is football fans? It is opening weekend of the greatest game on earth! College football is right here, right now! I think they should come up with a deodorant scent for game day. That would be very cool! I wonder what the flavor should be. Leather? Grass? Sweat? I guess it really would not matter. Anything that said game day on it I would wear. This is going to be an amazing week! I start a new job on the 6th (Drytac) and I am heading to Hattiesburg to watch the Dawgs play! Can I say Happy Dance! The weather report does not look too friendly. I am ok with that because I think all real sports should be played outdoors in the elements. I talked to Matt several times during the week. Practices have gone very well. Everyone is very upbeat and focused. Matt said he has kicked well during practice and was ready to move the clock forward to Saturday night. CT has him working on several different directional kicks and all of the funny kicks. I understand that if the situation presents itself they have to be prepared. That is the part I hate, but understand. With the unfriendly weather about a 150 % possibility Matt, Taylor and Josh decjded to practice in the water late Thursday. CT would put the ball in water for several seconds and give it to Josh. They would pour water on Josh's hands before he snapped.
Taylor had his hands soaking wet and they poured water on the spot where Matt's plant foot would be during the kick. Originally I thought this was pretty funny, but when I thought about it the reason behind it, it was pretty genius. Matt said he went 6 for 6 at different distances. The team would depart Ruston at 2:00PM and head to Hattiesburg. My adventure would begin by departing Dallas at 7:30AM with David (Janet's Uncle) from North Dallas. After a couple of stops we made our way to Ruston around 11:45AM. Matt met us at Johnny's Pizza for some lunch before he had to be at the field house. He was in good spirits, but was pretty quiet. I know to just ask a few questions since he was in game mode. After Johnny’s we made our way over to the Super One for some La Tech peanuts. It was a brand new display and I took the first 2 cans. Onward to Hattiesburg we go! We made our way to the Comfort Inn at 5:15PM and we needed a drink. Right on queue at 6:00PM the sirens blared as the team drove by the hotel on the way to the field for a walk through. That was really cool! I now know it is game on! I knew that Matt had a team dinner at 7:00PM so we made our way over to the team hotel shortly after and met Matt in the lobby to watch the Baylor/TCU game. This is a crazy game! Where did Baylor come from or where did TCU go? It was good spending time with Matt! They were going to a movie at 9:30PM so we headed out to grab some grub and watch the 2nd half of the game. All I am going to say is WOW! RG3 is a beast!
The big day is here and the rain and wind are upon us. Most games I go to I need extra drawers and this game was no exception. While getting ready for the day I realized that I had no extra drawers and a special run to Wal-Mart was needed. I made my way to Hattiesburg with everything else except my drawers. Go figure! After breakfast and my special Wal-Mart trip we made our way to the team hotel to visit Matt one more time before it was time to get my mind right. Matt had breakfast at 10:00AM and special teams walk through at 10:45AM in the parking lot. If you’re going to play in the rain you do your walk through in the rain. Matt had a window to visit between 11:15AM and 1:00PM. We sat in the lobby and watched Utah St and Auburn. Utah St has a freshman stud at QB. They are giving Auburn a good run. We left Matt and wished him luck. He was very focused and ready! I have waited long enough! It is time to jump head first in the adult beverages. David  I made our way back to the hotel to watch as many games as our remote would take us to. Beer, peanuts and single malt whiskey was on the menu. Midway through the afternoon food started to enter our minds and someone on the BBB had mentioned the Po Boy Express. That is where we headed. It was located on 4th street on the east side of 49 very close to the stadium. The Po Boy Express did not disappoint! It was fantastic. We had the steak bomb! As they say, if you are constipated the steak bomb will clear all problems. You take a normal cheese steak and you pile it full with fried shrimp. Need I say more except it came with homemade onion rings! After not eating any bread products over the last 45 days, the last 24 hours has been bread abuse!
While we were there we chatted with the owner and he told us we could park behind the restaurant for the game. That was very cool! It will only take us 10 minutes to get to the gate. As the rain and wind was everywhere we drove around the campus. Not very many people are out and about except the parking attendants sitting in the rain with no one trying to park. We felt sorry for them as some of them we saw out there on our special Wal-Mart run. We made our way back to the hotel for our final consumption of adult beverages. We hit the road at 7:00 and parked at the Po Boy Express. Game time was at 9:00PM central time. I had a rain suit top and David had a rain suit top and bottom. It did not take very long and my bottom portion was completely soaked. Football games = elements so I am ok with it. We made our way into the stadium and I saw my very first football lake. Wow! This is going to be very interesting! I saw Matt and he was kicking a few kicks and he looked like a drowned rat. I am not sure how all of this is going to work, but maybe they will squeegee off the kicking area before they kick.
HaHa! The team went in and Matt came back out with full pads on. He kicked a few from different areas of the field. There were not too many areas that were not ponding. I saw some of his kicks they spotted the ball in the ponds and it looked like he was hitting an explosion shot out of a sand trap. Let the games begin! Matt will kick the opening kickoff! I was not sure how his plant foot would hold up, but he got a good kick off in the conditions. Southern Miss runs 7 plays and scores a TD. Oh no! That looked pretty easy. On our 2nd possession we get down to the Southern Miss 14 and go for it on 4th down and 1. I bet you wonder what happened next. We gave the ball back to them on their 14 yard line. I am not the coach so I guess I need to hush and not speak my mind, but I would call that a missed opportunity! Not! Back and forth both teams go giving the ball back to each other.
At the 3:30 mark we are on the Southern Miss 34 yard line with a 4th and 18. With 7 seconds left on the play clock we send the kicking team out for a 51 yard FG. 7 seconds is not long enough to get the play off so we get a delay of the game penalty. Who on the sidelines is in charge of clock management? When you are playing in a weather game every point is so critical. We are now at a 56 yard FG and CD sends in the punting team. I understand the chance of a block so the punt was the right thing, but why did the decision to kick the FG take so long in the first place? The half comes to an end with Southern Miss up 7 - 0 and another missed opportunity. The 2nd half starts and both teams go back in forth punting the ball to each other. The defense is jacked up! At the 7:50 mark Matt goes out for a 28 yard FG and connects! Great snap, great hold and blocking by the O line ensures the opportunity is there. The score is now 7 - 3. Southern Miss connects on a FG and then it is the Show me your Fitte show as Lyle takes it to the house and we have a ball game as the score is now tied 10 - 10.
Southern Miss adds another FG and we recover a bobbled punt by Ryan Allen. A few plays later and LC pounds the ball in for a TD. Matt connects on the PAT and we are rolling at 17 - 13. We allow Southern Miss 2 more FG's and we end up on the wrong end of a 19 - 17 score. I am upset with the loss. I personally hate to lose! We were so close! (Wind and 10 inches of rain did not help, but both teams played on the same field) We had so chances and so many positives! While there were some negatives they are not something we cannot fix! Our kids played with so much heart. I am very proud of this team! I will never understand coaching mentality as they beat the drum to a different beat than I do. We talked to Mr. Rust as we waited for Matt to come out of the locker room. I think we were pretty spot on with our observation on the game. You will have to ask Mr. Rust about his frog suit. He was completely dry after the game! When Matt made his way out of the locker room the first words out of his mouth were “I hate to lose”! “I am pissed”! “This team is too good to go down like this”.
“We had this game won”! All I can do is give him a hug and say great game! I know that is not what he wants to hear when you lose, but what else do you say? We talked about the game and the experience on the field. It is now 1:25AM and Matt heads to the bus and we head to the hotel. After a few adult beverages and David and I going over the game, 3:00AM has dawned its ugly head on us. We still have an 8 hour drive home to North Dallas tomorrow. The morning would come early and I am sure with a headache. As I lay in bed I reflect on the game. The QB play was good, the receivers had a hard time with a wet ball, the O line played better in the 2nd half, there was not much of a running game, the defense was amazing, special teams were WOW, missed scoring opportunities and the specialist came through when they were called upon. I am not sure if that captures it in a nutshell or not, but those are my observations.
Until this offense becomes a wrecking force you have to take the points when they are within your kickers range. Points are very important to this team. Don't get me wrong when an offense is clicking, try going for a 4th down at times, but in the meantime take the points! This is my opinion only! I am going to leave the Southern Miss game alone. It was a hard fought battle with some extreme elements. I am very proud of this team and what the future holds. Central Arkansas is next. I don't know much about them except they are called the Honey Bears and have a couple of D1 transfers on the team. On 2nd thought any male team called the Honey Bears deserves to have their ass kicked! I see a bulldawg butt whipping happening Saturday night. I appreciate all of those who are following my journey. It is such a blast to follow Matt Nelson through his eye and the Bulldog team! I might not say the right things, but I write from the bottom of my heart and what my feelings are during the week and during the game.
I don’t intend to hurt anyone, but I am very passionate about La Tech Football! My opinions on the coaches and their decisions are only mine and no one else’s. Don’t forget to listen to my friends at Tech Nation Radio every Tuesday night. Some of the photos are courtesy of Mr. Tom Morris. He is such an amazing photographer. May your Football Season be filled with many Football Victories, Sunny Smiles, Sandy Dreams and Travel Your Way! Until our paths cross again, have a blessed week! College Football Dad!