SIDDIQ HAYNES DELAWARE FOOTBALL BLOG:
University of Delaware senior defensive tackle Siddiq Haynes (at right) is blogging this week from the NCAA Division I Championship in Frisco, Texas. Haynes' Blue Hens will face Eastern Washington in the title game Friday night, Jan. 7, at 7 p.m. ET at Pizza Hut Park. Check back Thursday night for his second installment.
January 5, 2011
"It’s great to finally be here in Texas with my team and getting ready to play in the national championship. I think I speak for the entire team in saying that we can’t wait to play and bring back another national championship to Delaware.
It has been a busy couple of days for me but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
On Sunday night we finished up practice and I caught a 7:55 flight to New Orleans for the Sugar Bowl and got in about 11:30 p.m. (Haynes was there to be honored as being named captain of the Allstate AFCA Good Works team for outstanding community service).
We (about 18 of the Good Works finalists who were also honored) all got up early Monday morning, had breakfast, and left about 7:30 in the morning to go down to the Lower Ninth Ward. We cleared a couple of vacant lots with machetes, weed wackers, and shovels and pretty much went through three lots. We did the back side of one ladies’ house which looked like it hadn’t been touched in 2 or 3 years. I assumed it still looked that way from Hurricane Katrina. You could barely walk to the back of the house without going through 3 feet of grass and weeds. We pulled weeds and chopped down some trees. It was fun for us - giving big kids machetes and tell them to do some yard work and you have fun with that. It was great to be able to be there and help out people who need it.
It was my first time meeting all the other guys, although there was one guy there from Duke which is right by where I live. They all were a lot like me - football players at heart but jolly guys. Everyone was very friendly and welcoming and it was great to be around them. It was a kind of warming because they all went around joking and calling me captain but I think they respected that. I told them that I accepted the award as captain for all of them because we all have put in a lot of hard work to help out in our communities. A couple of times we were at events and they joked that they couldn’t start until I got there. It made me feel pretty good. I actually had the chance to get a lot of the guys numbers and email addresses and I’m sure we will keep in touch on Facebook and stuff like that - even though we all come from across the country. They were friendly guys.
After we finished the community service project, we had a few hours of free time and then went over to the Sugar Bowl Fan Fest in the French Quarter. Hootie from Hootie and the Blowfish was there performing. We were honored and they said each of our names. It was funny because they had a fan contest for a dance called the Cuban Shuffle. As a lot of people know about me - I love to dance. So we all started dancing in front of the stage and all the cameras started to show us and not the fans in the contest. That was pretty cool. Later in the night we had the chance to sight-see and hung out on Bourbon Street and had a good time.
On Tuesday we got up and had a big breakfast with all the executives from Allstate and from the Sugar Bowl. We even got to meet the Allstate TV spokesman (Dennis Haysbert) who was there and one woman asked him say his “you’re in good hands with Allstate” which was pretty cool to hear.
Later in the day we went over to the Sugar Bowl over at the Superdome. We got to sit in a beautiful box on the 50-yard line, all you can eat. The seats were fantastic. The fans were great. It gets pretty loud in that place. At halftime we got to go on the field to be recognized as the Allstate winners and got to see ourselves on the jumbotron. It was great to hear that I was on TV giving the “Hook ‘em Horns” salute that we have been talking to ever since we knew we were coming to Texas for the finals. Jerry O (Oravitz) texted me earlier in the day to make sure I did it - it was already on my mind. After the halftime I had the chance to visit with Lou Holtz who was there doing the game and who has done a lot for the Good Works team. We talked for about five minutes one on one which was fun. We stayed for the whole game. It was a really good game but it was funny because Arkansas fans outnumbered the Ohio State fans 3 to 1 so they were pretty upset. We got on the bus after the game and we got lost. We finally asked if we could just get off the bus and walk back to the hotel which probably saved us an hour.
I didn’t get to bed until about 2 am that night and had to get up at 4 for my 6:45 flight to Dallas. The flight was fine and I got to the stadium here in Frisco at about 9:30. I went right to the lockerroom, got dressed, and ran down to the field. I was ready to go even though I didn’t get a lot of sleep. It was funny at the Sugar Bowl game - it was my first college game watching from the stands. I’m usually in the lockerroom when they play the national anthem and I was tapping my feet. I got goose bumps watching the game. As a player you never get to see the band come on the field and all the other stuff that surrounds the game. It really hit me that I’m not ready to be sitting watching games. I still have one more game on Friday and I’m lucky because most of the other guys there with me are done. That made me want to play even more. I couldn’t wait to get on that practice field.
After practice we had the chance to go to a local elementary school (Christie Elementary) here in Frisco for a pep rally. I tell you, we could use some of those kids for our Cockpit back home. They were loud! I wasn’t expecting something like that but it was a great feeling to have them cheering for us. They consider us famous just like we would consider someone older than us so I know where they were coming from. It was fun to get to talk to the whole school. Coach Keeler told me we needed to do something to fire them up so I had the idea of doing our “Blue” “Gold” chant. I thought that would get them hyped and it did. When we walked in and all the kids were screaming and giving us high fives, I knew it would work.
We got to had back to hotel after that and relax and tonight we went to a barbecue in our hotel for both teams and everyone involved with the game. I have to tell you - I don’t like eating with the enemy (Eastern Washington). But the environment was definitely cool with the whole rodeo and Texas them. But to be honest, I’m a football player and right now they are the enemy. I would rather not mingle. I respect them and I’ll shake their hands after the game Friday and hopefully we will come out victorious. I did enjoy being with my team.
Today was like a Thursday for us. We will have out walk-through tomorrow. Right now I’m just trying to fine-tune the game notes since I missed Monday. I’m trying to get mentally prepared. I just want to get some sleep, refresh my mind and body. I’m ready to play!
Talk to you tomorrow. Hook ‘em Hens!"