Thursday, December 27, 2012

Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas

     The last game week of my career here at Texas Tech!  This week sneaked up on me while I have been busy with grad school and football.  I never thought this week would come and it is now here, and almost gone.  Looking back on how we got here... this has been a year of ups and downs.  We started out the way we wanted, making some big statements and huge wins.  But we struggled down the stretch for whatever reason and yet another coaching change has happened.  We set high expectations for ourselves and invested a lot this year.  Of course we are frustrated with the outcome, but we are in a bowl game and we have one last chance to go out and perform as a team.  With all of the distractions and how the season ended, some people are overlooking this game and focused on the future.  However, we must finish strong and go out with a win.

     We have been at Meineke Car Care Bowl in Houston, Texas since Sunday the 23rd.  This week has been a relaxing one as they have not had many events for us during the week.  We have been practicing in the morning at Rice stadium and then have the night off when we get back around 2.  They have a nice game room set up for us with ping pong, Foosball  movies, and a lot of Xboxes to keep us entertained.  It didn't really feel like Christmas as we spent it here at the hotel by the Galleria.  But we were treated to a nice Christmas Dinner and even Santa came to visit us lol.  The main event of the week was the Rodeo Bowl which was a rodeo competition between the two teams.  My Stephenville background and our Texas heritage didn't help us out as Minnesota went on to win the competition.  But we made sure to let them know that we were ready for the game, as some "wait till Friday" and trash talking took place.  We just received our bowl gifts and our blessed to have earned them.  That's about it for the bowl events, and now we are focused and ready for the game.  Minnesota is a 6-6 Big 10 team with big bodies and a physical style offense.  They are different than the leaner speed we are used to seeing in the Big 12.  We must be physical and tackle well in order to shut down their running game.  Also, we must match up against their tall receivers and make them one dimensional.  This game is important to us seniors as we want to go out with a win and have a fun last experience as a Red Raider on the game field.  Thank God for this last opportunity!

-Student of the Game

Videos from YouTube:

Monday, December 24, 2012

Going Through Changes

     Finally a post! Sorry I haven't updated in a while, it has been a hectic time lately to say the least.  I didn't expect to have to go through yet another change during my time here, but that's how this business is run and that how my career has been defined.  College football is a middle point between the pure business of the NFL and the mostly pure football nature of high school, at least from a players perspective.  Players in high school do not get anything but living out their childhood dreams and hope for a future in football.  The NFL is a business where you can build your own brand, but also get fired on any given day.  Then awkwardly in the middle is college football where you are able to earn scholarship, but are harshly restricted on business opportunities and things you can/can't do.  I think we are underpaid for everything we do and the health we sometimes sacrifice, but I won't get into that right now.  Nevertheless, we are penalized for transferring and switching schools by one whole year of our career.  That is a huge deal.  But coaches on the other hand can leave at their own will and literally wake up wearing one school's logo and go to bed wearing another school's logo.  Yes they are penalized, but being penalized financially hurts a lot less than being penalized with time like the players are.  Also, their leaving is a huge deal for everyone.  This leaves chaos for the assistant coaches, players, staff, and their families who don't know whether they have a job, where they are going to live, or their futures.  Nothing is guaranteed when a new staff comes in.  But whatever the case, the coach made a decision to leave and now the football program has had to deal with it.  And I think we have dealt with it really well!

     Changes is a part of life and football, but I never would have thought I would have so many.  Quantifying the changes in my 5 years gives me 3 head coaches, 2 interim head coaches, 4 defensive coordinators, 4 position coaches, and even 2 mascots as Midnight Matador was injured and retired this year!  Lol I had to throw that last one in there.  We have handled this change really well.  We have gone out and hired the up and coming Kliff Kingsbury.  I think this will bring the swagger back to the field and has already reunited the fan base.  Hopefully at the end of my career, all of these changes will have been for the better and Texas Tech will have a brighter future because of them.

-Student of the Game

Monday, December 10, 2012

National Football Foundation Award Dinner

     This was one of the greatest honors of my career.  It was truly an honor to represent my family, Texas Tech, and Stephenville as a National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete Award Recipient.  This Scholar-Athlete class had a great group of guys and it was a pleasure to meet them and get to know them.  Also, Congrats to Barrett Jones being the William V. Campbell trophy winner!  This is what being a student athlete is all about.  It's not just about how you perform on the field, but performing off the field as well and being a great role model.  All 15 players there represented that very well and I was honored to be a part of that.  It took a lot of hard work and help from a lot of people to get me to where I am today.  I thank God, my parents, my fiancee, my teachers, my coaches, family, and friends for all the help and support that helped me along the way.  I couldn't have done it without you!  Now a little about my experience in New York...

     Being my first trip to New York, it was definitely a blast.  The timing was perfect as the Christmas decorations were up around the city.  Just seeing all the massive buildings and how compact everything is really was eye opening.  We stayed at the Waldorf Astoria which is such a amazing and historical building.  Rex Burkhead was my roommate and I really enjoyed meeting him and getting to know him.  With the rest of the scholar-athlete group we had a press conference and continued on to Rockefeller Center to see the Christmas tree and then to Radio City Music Hall for the Christmas Spectacular.  The Rockettes were pretty  impressive and it was a great show.  The next day the group got together for pictures then it was on to the award dinner.  What a star studded event!  I was around some football legends and could not believe the players I was getting to meet.  It was an honor to meet Gabe Rivera and great for both of us to be at the event to represent Texas Tech.  My dad was even more star stuck as he knew more of the older players in attendance than I did.  It was my first black tie event and truly a night to remember.  After the event we got the chance to explore the city and do the following sightseeing: central park, empire state building, wall street, NYSE, Rockefeller center, Macy's, Times Square, Grand Central Station, ride the subway, 9/11 memorial, and got to see Wicked on Broadway.  Pictures and video from the award dinner are shown below.  It was a trip of a lifetime and I am truly blessed to have received such an award. God Bless!

-Student of the Game

Video from YouTube:

Pictures taken by my parents: