Monday, August 27, 2012

Fall Camp Review


     Well fall camp was pretty hectic... As you can tell I didn't have much time to blog.  Here are a few random closing thoughts from fall camp:

     Red-shirting is always a big issue when it comes to the new guys.  Some think they can't contribute this year and want to make sure they won't "waste" a year on playing just a small amount or only on special teams.  You can tell by how they practice.  They don't try very hard and make sure not to beat anybody out for a position.  Also they usually make it well known that they want to red-shirt.  I can understand a little about how they are feeling, but if they do not try to earn a spot right now... they are giving up playing time in the future!  One of the main reasons I earned a starting spot after my red-shirt year was because I came into my first year working towards earning playing time.  I didn't care weather I red-shirted or not, and didn't worry about the depth at my position.  There were five senior safeties my first year and four other safeties that were older than me.  I just decided to work as hard as I could for playing time and let the coaches decide.  The coaches decided to red-shirt me, but I had made a strong first impression and a great bid for the spot next year just on my first fall camp alone.  Red-shirting was good for me because it gave me a chance to develop and really learn from the senior safeties.  It is also fun to have a small break from the stress and physical wear of playing on game days, and take a fans point of view and watch the games.  Also, this essentially gave me an extra year to work towards academics.  This is why players want to red-shirt... but being lazy and sloppy on the field is not the way to accomplish this.

     Times have changed since the harsh two-a-days that tried to whip players into shape after their long summer break of doing nothing.  Back in the old days, this fall training camp was to get players physically and mentally in shape.  After doing sometimes nothing the whole summer, athletes would be losing a lot of weight over these first few weeks.  Now, football is 24/7 for student-athletes.  We get a few weeks off in January and May, but other than that it is a full time job.  In the summer, we train extremely hard and come into fall camp in pretty good shape.  Since I have been here, training camps have seemed to get ever so slightly easier from year to year.  Maybe I'm just getting used to it!  However, also since I've been here the summer workouts have been getting a lot harder each year.  This being the case, i think that now training camps are not as focused as much on conditioning as they have been in the past... because we get this done in the summer.  We now can focus more on the X's and O's during training camp.  Training camp is still the reigning champ of the hardest time of the year though.

     My last training camp with Texas Tech is complete.  Even after all these years, it still surprises me how hard it is during these last three weeks.  This has been a great few weeks and I can't wait to step out on the field with my teammates.  All the work has been put in... now it is time to see the results

-Student of the Game

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Media


     The media chaos can be overwhelming for a player.  If you don't know how to handle yourself you may get picked apart, quoted for saying something you didn't, or even tricked into saying something controversial.    The Texas Tech media team does a great job with the team, but outside the double T logo we have to be careful.  Luckily, I have been trained to be the perfect media speaker... bland and boring lol, just kidding... I think.  From when we first started to play football, coaches have taught us to be nothing but positive and not talk about anything that could be seen as controversial.  Not that we lie, but we do have to choose our words wisely.  Media feeds off of everything exciting and negative, that's why we are held to a standard above the rest of regular students.  If we do something wrong, it is front page news... but 99.9% of the positive and constructive things that are happening barely gets mentioned if at all.  But that's the way media is in general.  Like on the field and in front of the camera, I'm not about the flashy "look at me" attitude.  I just focus on my goal and try to do things right.  I may seem unemotional at times, but I am just focused on the task at hand.  I always joke with Blayne Beal because I never see most of my interviews make it to TV or internet, I think it is because I'm too bland and don't say anything crazy.  I do try to have fun and my teammates should know that by now, but when it comes down to business on the field, camera, or in the classroom... it's time to get to work.

-Student of the Game
Videos from YouTube:



Monday, August 13, 2012

Fall Camp : Through Scrimmage 1


     The first full week of fall camp has passed.  Aches and pains is the name of the game when getting back into the grind of football.  Just getting used to your helmet gets your head sore.  Then the pads come and your arms start to get bruised and shoulders start to hurt from hitting.  The headaches start to come from the first few tackles... like T Bull says you know you have one if you can't shake your head without it hurting!  After the first week, my body feels it.  But it is far from unusual, will pass with time, and is all part of the process of getting back into the swing of things.

     Practice with pads the first couple of days is not much different than without.  We still tag off for the most part and keep the offense off the ground.  The biggest change is we have tackling drills.  Coach Lovett is big on tackling and we spend a lot of drill work on it.  I think that is key because if we miss a tackle, it is a touchdown or at least a big play.  Film study is another key element to the camp grind.  I watch every play I am in and write down every mistake I make on film.  This way I will be able to look back and see my most common mistakes.  I try and fight the blur of camp by focusing on one aspect of my game to improve on for each day.  I have also been working on jugs (the things that shoot out footballs really fast) every day after practice to keep my hands familiar with the football.

     The scrimmage went well for the most part.  We were flying around to the ball and making plays.  We also gave up too many big plays.  For the first time, I graded out with a 100... but that doesn't mean I couldn't improve on my play.  The biggest issue I had was running through a tackle which is difficult when you play at a "thud" tempo, which means full speed but no tackling.  If a running back is full steam ahead this is a difficult thing to do!  Tackling or tagging off can be easy to do, but in between... you end up getting knocked back when those running backs lower their head.  Kaufman said before the scrimmage that "Effort is the main focus and the ball is the issue."  I think we achieved that.  Still a long way to go, but I am seeing improvement with each and every day.  One step closer...

-Student of the Game
Videos from YouTube:


Thursday, August 09, 2012

First Impressions


     The first three days are in the books, with that the first impressions have been made.  After checking in the first day and having preliminary meetings, we get down to football.  The first two days of practice were no pads and just helmet.  The coaches already know most all of the players by now, but the first days are still very important.  They are a litmus test of how much you have improved over the summer and how much you remember from Spring football.  Overall the two practices were very good.  We were flying around to the ball and had some enthusiasm on the defensive side.  Kaufman mentioned that you could see the enthusiasm in our actions instead of our words.  There wasn't much yelling and ra ra type stuff, just confident play and encouraging our teammates.  Even though we didn't have pads on the first two days were tough.

     Camp brings a special type of adversity that brings the hardest part of the whole year.  This time is long, strenuous, and challenging both mentally and physically.  This Camp is a little different because we have school this first week of camp, which cuts out football time for the morning.  Usually we are up there early in the morning till late at night... which will be here soon enough (Monday).  Meetings, practice, eating, workouts, walk through, and more meetings take up our time at the facility.  Days begin to run together and you loose track of time.  Adversity is unavoidable... every athlete has off days, makes mistakes, and comes to a breaking point.  It is the will to push through this that brings the team together and is the outcome of Camp.  Cold tubs are mandatory and I hate every second of it... but you have to realize it's in your best interest.  We must push through and focus on this process if we want to meet our goals.  I love the process and will continue to focus on it in order to get results.  Being a champion is not accomplished in the stadium, but the everyday grind towards achieving your dreams.  "Winning is a by-product of being a fearless champion."

-Student of the Game

Here are some videos from the first three days from YouTube:



Sunday, August 05, 2012

The Countdown has Begun... Day 1


     The official countdown has begun... The clock is rolling and camp is under way.  Today I checked in to camp for the final time.  We arrived at the facility to check in and to receive our per diem money.  This is the money to get us by while school is not in session.  Everyone always shows up on time when money is involved! No wonder why they make that first.  Next, we proceeded to the video board and head shots.  I am quite pleased with my video intro and could be in the running for the best funny one... but I know the competition is going to be stiff.  Proceed to the press box where we ate our first team dinner.  We then met to have a bunch of meetings including compliance, parking, code of conduct, and sportsmanship... all the fun stuff lol. No details here, but let's just say we got down to business!  Also, Texas Tech has gone to great lengths and expense to give us the best opportunity to become a true team this year.  Various leadership opportunities have given us a new perspective and a renewed drive.  Day 1 overall showed excitement, anticipation, and a will to do whatever it takes to be great...  I am excited to start the process.

-Student of the Game

Photo courtesy of Blayne Beal