Holiday Bowl diary: Brian Orakpo -- Dec. 16
Hey Longhorn fans,
After a couple of days off from on-field practices, we got back at it early Sunday morning. All of our bowl practices have been in the early morning, and it just brings us together as a team - the younger guys blending in with the older guys, and the older guys blending in with the younger guys. It builds more team chemistry, and that's the feeling we have. Waking up in the morning, everybody sees everybody else's faces and we know we have to get back to work. Obviously, we ended the regular season on a loss, but we all came in together as a team and want to turn this around for the bowl game.
We're going to try our best to get a win against Arizona State, and hopefully that will be momentum us for next year too. It will motivate the younger guys to step up and play more important roles entering next spring and next fall. This is going to be a great transition for all of us. We have some very important seniors leaving us, and this is their last game, so we want to end it on a high note.
Next year is going to be huge for me and the rest of the upcoming seniors, because that will be our final run. For everybody, you get that time where it's your year and you're the guy that has to step up and play a bigger and more successful role. That's what I'm going to try to do. I want to turn that leadership up both on and off the field and try to make all of us come together as the best team we can be. That's going into the spring focused and getting ready for a great 2008 season. That all starts now with this game.
Bowl practice has also helped me a lot with my health. That was a significant injury to my knee earlier this year, and only playing half the season, it was hard for me, because I wanted to be out there and help my teammates when they needed me. Just getting back and having this time off from games has helped my body. It's helped other guys too, but for me, it's been very good to get some rest and at the same time get ready to play Arizona State.
This spring, hopefully my knee will be 100 percent to where I can just take the brace off and be ready to go. It's a long transition, and Kenny (Boyd) and the training staff have been doing a great job on me, so I can get ready for a long and successful senior season.
We'll just continue to work hard each and every day. Right now, we're doing that at 6 a.m. We're finished with finals, so we won't have those as a distraction, so we can get focused and go out there to San Diego and work hard and have a great time with our teammates.
It's certainly going to be just the kind of challenge we enjoy. Arizona State is one of those Pac-10 teams with a West Coast type of offense where they spread the field. They like throwing it and they're also good at running it, so we can't get off track thinking they'll throw it all the time, because they can do both. Their offensive line is big and fast and they can move better than most of the teams we've seen all season. It's going to be a great challenge for us to put pressure on the quarterback. He's thrown for over 3,000 yards, so he's very efficient. We feel like we need to try to disrupt him and that's what we'll try to do.
I know Arizona State is going to come out there pumped. In my opinion, they're a BCS team and they're good enough to have been playing in one of those games, so they're going to come out there and want to show the country what they're capable of doing. We're going to have to come together and be focused and be ready for a great game.
We also have our goals out there of seven straight 10-win seasons and four straight bowl wins that are very important. We ended on a bad note in the regular season, so coming into this game, we're going be extremely focused with better team chemistry and we're just going to try have a better overall performance to try to get that 10th win. We have a streak going and we want to extend it. Even though we're going to be in San Diego where it's a lot of fun, we're going to come out like it's a business trip and play Texas football.