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!