Uli's turn: Jan. 3 -- Fiesta Bowl
Jan. 3, 2009
Hey Longhorns fans,
I'm checking in from the Fiesta Bowl, and practices when we were at home were really physical and we did a lot of hitting and we got most of hard stuff out of the way, so when we got here, we could focus on the mental aspects. We're getting used to hitting again, but trying not to wear out our bodies.
Being a junior, you start to treasure these last practices you have with the seniors and you realize you're going to be in their position next year. It hits close to home, especially since I originally came in with that class. I've been with that class for a long time, and they're probably my closest friends. For next year's senior class, we see what they did, and we know they have great leadership. We've been taking notes on what worked well, because we know next year, we'll be in the same position.
Along those lines, while we'll be the seniors next year, it's good to see the young guys get to scrimmage at the end of our all of our bowl practices. Everybody gets really excited because they're going to be contributing with us next year. We want to see who's going to step up. Obviously you can't tell everything from those, but they give you a good look and get you excited about what they can do.
Outside of practices, the Fiesta Bowl has been great to us. Yesterday was probably one of the coolest things I've been a part of at a bowl game. They brought in comedian Frank Caliendo to come and do a 30-minute routine. He had the whole room just rolling. Everything was hilarious. He did impressions of John Madden, President Bush and other people just spot on. You see him do it on TV, but it's really great to see it in person. Chris Hall told me a lot of times he almost didn't think it was his voice, he had to second guess it to be sure it was real.
After that, we went to a Phoenix Suns game against the L.A. Clippers. The Suns are a great team and it was exciting to see Shaq, Steve Nash, Amare Stoudemire and the other guys. We didn't stay as long as we wanted to, just because we're trying to conserve our energy and get rested, so we came home early, but it was still a lot of fun.
On Thursday, they took us to a really nice steakhouse called Mastro's City Hall. It was a great experience where they had rib eyes and you could pick whatever you wanted and it was cooked to order. They had prime steaks and everything you could possibly want. It was a great experience just to be treated like that, because as college athletes, we can't afford to go out to nice restaurants like that, so it was a really good treat.
Tonight, they're going to have Reckless Kelly come in and do a show for us. I know that's going to be a big hit, especially with the linemen. Most of us listen to them. They're an Austin-based Texas country band, so that's really exciting for us.
Besides that, we've gotten to spend a lot of good time at the hotel. One of the great things about the Fiesta Bowl is the give you really good activities, but they don't have you constantly doing things, they let you relax. The hotel rooms here are really big, so we've been able to fit in a bunch of linemen, when in other hotels, it can get cramped. We're pretty comfortable and we've gotten to play dominos with each other and hang out and talk. That's what I like to do -- just hang out with everybody.
I'm sure today we'll watch the Arizona-Atlanta playoff game. It's great to see that we have former Longhorns starting on both offensive lines in Lyle Sendlein for the Cardinals and Justin Blalock for the Falcons. Lyle came to practice yesterday and we had a great time catching up with him. It's a great testament to our program and Coach McWhorter that we have that kind of presence in key roles in the NFL playoffs, and it's fun to see.
Well, we're down to our last couple of days and the game's finally within sight. It's been a long-time coming. We've been excited about it, and we've practiced hard for it. All along, that's really been the focus. We've had fun doing the things we've been doing, but we've been trying to conserve our energy, because we know the reason we're here is the Fiesta Bowl and finishing our season the way we want. Hopefully we'll see you here, if not, we hope you're cheering for us on TV.