Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Let's Get This Party Started! 8/28/12

The smell of college football is in the air. Why did you take so long to get here? I am looking forward to the season starting, but I know in the end I will not want it to be over. As Matt starts his senior season my emotions will be out of whack, but the good thing is that I am fully stocked with plenty of drawers for the season. Let's get this party started! Camp is over and game week has begun so I thought. Due to Hurricane Issac our game against Texas A&M has been moved to October 13th. Really? WTH? This is not even going to be close to what I went through at the Southern Miss game last year. I understand the safety of the fans and the players, but come on man. Outdoor sports are meant to be played in the elements. The only way I am going to be happy about this decision is if we can somehow get this game played in Ruston.
Matt went into camp this year in awesome condition. His off season and summer workouts have been very precise and structured thanks to Damon Harrington. Matt has told me all along that you don't go into camp looking to get in shape. You go into camp in your very best shape. That is why we work so hard in the off season. He has limited his kicks during camp so he can keep his leg fresh for the season. Matt said that this team is going to do things very special this year. The team chemistry is right where it needs to be. He roomed with Ryan Allen again this year at camp.
Matt said this special teams unit is very talented. I feel like we are going to do great things on the field this season. We will be ready when called upon. Matt said the practices and scrimmages have been intense yet the team is very focused on their goals. One of the biggest obstacles I see is the timing and chemistry with the deep snapper and the holder. This will be Matt's 4th holder at La Tech and the trust and bond has to be spot on. Josh, David & Matt have worked very hard over the summer and during camp to get everything down pat. Most of the summer (1 to 2 days a week) they were on the field at 6:00 AM working on their timing. All of this was done on their own to try to get better. Matt told me that things are really starting to click and he can not wait for the opening kickoff.
He has really been kicking the ball well with good pop off of the ball. When Matt helped Matt Stover with his kicking camp over the summer he got to spend a little time with Matt and they worked on a few things and it has really helped with keeping his shoulders in the right alignment. I am really excited for this team and the first game can not get here soon enough. Janet and I along with other family members made our way over to Ruston in the middle of August. Matt & Kasie graduated on August 16th and what a special moment this was for us. Watching these 2 young adults achieve what they have is truly a blessing. Kasie graduated with a degree in Biology and Matt graduated with his finance degree in 3 years. He is currently working on his MBA.
I am not sure how you do this and play football along with his community service participation. It is just awesome. It was so cool to watch Matt walk across the stage to get his diploma and honor his friend TD22 with his pin on his gown. It truly brought tears to my eyes. After graduation was over we got to hang out with Kasie's family for a bit and take pictures of the 2 graduates. There was not a whole lot of time to celebrate as Matt had practice that evening. Once practice was over we would go grab something to eat.
In between meetings and walk thru on Friday we got to spend a little time with Matt. Janet and I were excited about getting to watch practice. With the team still in an open practice we got to get pretty close to the field as in on the sideline. It was so cool to get to listen to the coaches as they ran through all of the different plays. When theses guys hit they hit. I never played football myself but if I got hit like that I am sure I would not get back up. There were a few fights during the scrimmage and that is just going to happen as emotions were running very high.
As practice was coming to an end they were sending balls through the jugs machine for the punt returners to catch and return. What I did not understand was that they were practicing on a field with no light and it was pretty dark. I guess it is a way to focus on catching the ball even in no light conditions. Practice was over and Matt had to go check in at the cafeteria and then it was off to WOW for some wings with Josh, Janet, Matt & Kasie. Matt showed me his schedule for Saturday and I was amazed how little time they do have in a day. Saturday morning we headed to Shreveport to meet Janet's parents and give a little money to the casino. Saturday afternoon we headed to Independence Stadium to watch practice and then visit with the players at the meet & greet.
Practice was cut short as there was lightening in the area. They had the meet & greet setup with name plates for the players and it made it easy as we went through the line. I had a few things to get signed and was a total blast talking to the players and coaches. Every player I spoke with was very gracious and thanked us for being there. It was really awesome. We told Matt goodbye and headed back to the casino. What an awesome few days it was. I always feel comfortable in Ruston. Now it is time to get my game face on as the opening kickoff is staring me in the face. NOT! Now I have to wait until the U of H game on September 8th. I am not happy, but what are you going to do. It is what it is! On a side note Matt informed us this week that he is La Tech's National Collegiate Scholar Athlete nominee for 2012. Are you kidding me? What an awesome honor just to be a nominee! If selected to the final 16 he would be awarded 18K in scholarship money to apply to his MBA classes. That would be sweet and I am very proud of his dedication to football, school and his community. Quin Harris was a finalist in 2008. Matt you rock man! Some of the photos in my blog were taken by Mr. Tom Morris and I appreciate him letting me use them. He does an awesome job with his photography.
I can't wait to share my thoughts with everyone this season. I appreciate those who are following my journey. It is such a blast and an honor 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 College Football. Until our paths cross again have a blessed week. College Football Dad!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

The Journey Begins! 8/2/12

Wow! I sit here so excited that the time between the spring game and fall camp is over and the season is right in our grasps. On the other hand, why have the years that Matt has been at La Tech gone by so fast? Really, only one more season. Please don't say it is so! I need another bowl game! I really cannot wait for camp to start and I am so excited for Matt and the entire football team. It is going to be an exciting upcoming season. We have some great OOC games this year and we should own the WAC. The games I am looking forward to the most is our opener against
Texas A&M, U of H and the Virginia game. While Illinois will be a tough challenge I feel like those 3 games will set the tone for really how good this team is going to be. The team reports today and hits the field tomorrow. Saying that Matt is anxious for this journey to get started is an understatement. He is like a kid in the candy store bouncing all over the place. He has worked so hard this off season. The field and the weight room has been his home away from home. He has spent 3 to 5 days a week in the weight room since the spring game, runs way too many miles and he kicks 3 to 4 days a week with Josh Cuthbert & David Gru. David will be Matt's 4th holder in 4 years and I feel like all of their hard work over the summer will pay off. All 3 of those guys have to be in perfect harmony. Matt knows the tremendous potential that this team has as well as he does personally.
This team has a chance for national recognition along with several of the players. I truly believe that La Tech has not only the best specialist duo in the WAC but one of the best in the nation. We will score a lot of touchdowns and Matt & Ryan will be called upon when those times don't happen. They both will have opportunities to be game changers and I look forward to watching them excel at their craft. Matt said the seniors have really come together as a team and have taken a leadership role on and off the field. They are focused and have the mindset that they can beat anyone that they play. We have 28 days until kickoff and it cannot get here soon enough. I am so ready for this ride and I hope Wal-Mart has enough drawers for me this year.
Since this is blog #1 for the 2012 season I would like to reflect on some of the things that Matt has been involved with and accomplished this spring and summer. First of all I must say that this young man amazes me everyday and I am so proud of him. His desire, focus, mental toughness, physical ability and his continued climb towards his goals leave me speechless. I am also thankful that he got all of those genes from his mom. Once the spring Game was over Matt went back to work on the weekends at Squire Creek. His 2nd love is golf and he is still working on his game. Matt loves interacting with people and this gives him a way to do that. In May Matt planned a river trip to float the Guadalupe River in New Braunfels.
I think there were about 12 of them who went including his girlfriend Kasie Onken, Kendall Guillot, Vince Cano, Zack Voss, Tyler Nelson (brother), Colton Carley and his great friend Jake Trevino. The cool thing was that Matt proposed to Kasie on the river in front of friends, teammates and his brother. We knew it was going to happen and could not wait for the phone call. Kasie, welcome to the family! Wow! I am getting old! Matt and a few of the players attended the Hico Elementary 2012 picnic. Ms. Toni set everything up so the kids could have a very special day. They played softball, ate with the kids and signed autographs. There are so many things that these young men do in the community that go unrecognized.
I wish La Tech would promote/acknowledge some of these activities that these young men participate in. These guys are not just athletes and La Tech is blessed it has the student athletes that we have. They give so much back to the community. During the summer he worked an internship at Merrill Lynch in Monroe. He was very blessed with the opportunity. He is very intrigued with finances and he said this was going to be exciting. Matt went to Baltimore in June for a couple of days to help Matt Stover with his kicking camp. He loves helping kids who have a desire to become a specialist and he had a blast hanging out with Matt. Over July 4th weekend Janet & I got to go spend some time with Matt. He had just moved into a new house with RP Stuart, Ryan Allen and Ray Holley. We stayed there for a couple of days and got to spend some time with Ray as the other guys went out of town.
Ray Holley is such an amazing person and is very excited to get the season started. I loved sharing the hottest grilled jalapeno poppers wrapped in bacon with him. We all shed a few good tears! One of the days we were in Ruston we went with Matt to the field while he kicked. Josh Scobee had planned on working out during the same time. It was so awesome to get to shag balls for Matt & Josh. Watching these two elite athletes kick and go through their routine just blew me away. It is something I will not forget for a long time. Matt was selected to the College Performance Awards watch list again this year along with the Phil Steele pre-season First Team All Wac. These are cool mentions, but winning as a team and performing on the field is all Matt is about. If your play on the field leads to those things then all of your hard work has paid off.
Ok, I cannot wait anymore but the thing I am most proud of is that Matt will be graduating August 16th with his finance degree and a 3.5 GPA. Are you kidding me? A finance degree in 3 years while playing football! On top of that he has concurrently been taking grad classes and should graduate with his MBA in the spring. August 16th will be an awesome day for our family. Not only will Matt be graduating, but Kasie will be graduating with her degree in Biology. There will be a little time for a celebration that night as the team will have practice in full pads that morning. Then it will be back to the task at hand. Wow! I am out of breath. I cannot keep up with Matt's pace and I am not sure how he does. I am already sweating and out of breath! I hope this gives you a little insight to what Matt has been doing this spring and summer. I am sure I have left out several things, but now that I am 50 I am granted a few memory issues. HaHa!
I know he is ready for fall camp to start and I am ready for the kickoff against Texas A&M on August 30th. We are very proud of Matt and his accomplishments. I feel good about this year's team. I am ready for the tailgating to begin and can't wait for the season to start. I hope you enjoy the rest of your summer and I look forward to seeing everyone at the games. I want to say Happy Birthday to Tyrone on 07/31/12. You are missed! RIP #22. I am very saddened by the loss of Tech XX. As a dog lover I am very upset that something like this can happen. RIP Tech XX. On a happy note I would like to wish Dan "The Man" Matthiesen the best of luck at Georgia State.
You were awesome at what you did and will be missed! I also want to give my oldest son Tyler a shout out for landing a job with AT&T in Austin as a level 2 commercial WiFi specialist. I hope he can make a couple of Matt's games this season. My next blog will be after camp, but before the opening kickoff. I will continue through the season with my thoughts after each game. I appreciate those who are following my journey. It is such a blast and honor 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 college football. Until our paths cross again have a blessed summer. College Football Dad!