SIDDIQ HAYNES' DELAWARE FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP BLOG: DAY 2
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 Friday night for his third and final installment. (Photo by Dan Lauletta)
January 6, 2011
Hello again Blue Hen fans!
It was my first full day in Texas and it was another busy one. I think we are definitely ready to play Friday night and bring a championship back to Delaware.
We had a wake up call this morning but ours came at 7 a.m., which I think was a prank. So I went back to sleep and got up an hour later. We had a rolling breakfast downstairs followed by our special teams meetings. My only special teams is field goal block so I didn’t have a lot.
We had some down time before had our actual position meetings so (Matt) Marcorelle brought the team together. He really wanted to reinforce that this was a business trip. He was heated kind of like I was yesterday about dinner last night when the guys from Eastern Washington came over to our side and were holding the championship trophy. Its a personal game and we need to take this game seriously, especially the seniors. We were here in 2007 and here we are again. We definitely don’t want to leave with a loss. It was a good reinforcement.
Later on we had a luncheon with Eastern Washington again. It was a different kind of tension this time. You could tell a lot of our guys were really focused. We had the chance to listen to some great speakers and Randy White was there. I had the chance to meet him. He is a big man. It was funny because he came over to our table and I was right in front of him and he put his hands on my neck and it felt like I was in a death grip. We didn’t know a lot about him but we read up and J.J. (Justin Johnson) found on Google that they used to call him Manster because he was Half-Man and Half-Monster. As soon as he took his jacket off and we saw his neck and arms we could see why. That was pretty cool. The whole lunch was a great atmosphere.
We only had about 10-15 minutes before we had to head over to the stadium for our walk-through. We just fine-tuned our game plan and the guys were pretty focused. It was pretty cool at practice because we had a lot of fans there. Our talk after practice was definitely well-preached. We had Ben Patrick (former Delaware tight end and current Arizona Cardinals player), Larry Catuzzi (former Delaware quarterback from the 1960’s) and Darryl Johnston (former Cowboys fullback and current NFL commentator) there to speak to us. Ben has great character and the message he delivered was a passionate. He played in a championship game (a loss in the Super Bowl to the Steelers in 2009) but he took off his ring and told us it was for the first place loser.
He really wanted to instill in us that this is a once in a lifetime thing to play for a championship and to win this thing would be extraordinary. Darryl Johnston’s talk was a great too. He told us to represent the East Coast and go out there and have fun. This is definitely something we will remember for a lifetime. He is still friends with guys he played with on the Cowboys in the Super Bowl and he told us its something we will always looks back and reflect on. This is definitely something we all want. You dont’ want to come this far and end up on the short end of the stick.
After practice we looked over some game films and we looked pretty good. We got on the bus back to the hotel and had an hour and a half of down time. I had the chance to see my mom, my sister, and my dad and met up with them for a little bit.
I had something interesting happen today. A kid (19-year old Matt Swan) emailed me on Facebook and told me he was a big Delaware fan and that he and his dad had been coming to games together for 10 years and had been a fan for as long as he could remember. His dad passed away in August and he told me he didn’t come to a game all season because he couldn’t stand sitting in the same seats where he and his Dad sat. He still followed the team on our webcasts but it has been a bittersweet season after all he has gone through. He was just sending our team words of encouragement and wanted to tell us that you have to have passion and you have to love the sport. As soon as I read it I passed it along to Coach Keeler. I wanted him to relay that message to the team. It was great that he was thinking about us. It certainly gives us added incentive to go our there and win the game tomorrow.
We had a team dinner tonight and it was cool because a bunch of us guys got dressed up. I got the chance to wear my suite and Mike Atunrase got dressed up, Shea Allard was dressed up, J.J., and Carl Batson had slacks and a shirt. It was great to see.
After dinner I got the chance to see my grandmother (Lorraine Miller) and great-grandmother (Florence Scott) who flew in from South Carolina. I got the chance to spend an hour or so with them which was really special. My great grandmother doesn’t get around too well so I went over to see her in a hotel nearby. This will be the first football game that my grandmother and great-grandmother will get to see me play and its the championship game. That is definitely pretty cool. I’m truly excited. She doesn’t leave the house a lot and I don’t get the chance to see her a lot because of football and with me being up in Delaware. It’s the first time I’ve seen them in about a year. My older sister is also in from Georgia. It is definitely great seeing my family.
Another cool thing we did today was watch the victory video we see every week during the season. This one was really great because when it was done we had victory messages from Mike Adams (Cleveland Browns), Joe Flacco (Baltimore Ravens), Ben Patrick, and (former) Coach (Tubby) Raymond. It was pretty cool to see those guys and rooting us on and it great hearing (Ronald) Talley (former UD defensive end and current Arizona Cardinal) wishing us well with that big booming voice of his.
Tonight I’m just trying to rest and get off my feet. This is a typical night before a game. I’m tuning down and giving my mind a rest because tomorrow I’m going to be full of energy and flying around. I’m taking this time to cool down.
There is definitely a lot to play for tomorrow and we have plenty of incentive.
I’m looking forward to talking to you tomorrow night and celebrating a national championship.