Sept. 12, 2000
Berkeley, CA - Tuesday, September 12, 2000
We'll we finally got to play a game. It's been six months and it seemed like years. I was really anxious to see what our offense could do and I was real pleased. It was great to see guys like Joe Igber, James Smith and Saleem (Muhammad) get into the endzone. They had a real impact.
A lot of people thought we'd have a big downfall on defense with the guys we lost, but I had no doubt in my mind that we had the ingredients to make things happen. A lot of guys stepped up, mainly Nnamdi (Asomugha), Scott (Fujita), Dewey (Hale) and Jason (Smith). They made a lot of plays. It was really good to be playing side-by-side with Scott. We came in together and he's been through a lot. It brought back memories to when we were both freshmen.
The game was fun, but I was still a little rusty. But, I have to understand it's just the first game. I thought it was an honor to receive the Pac-10 Player of the Week award, but mainly I'm upset that I missed a couple sacks. The first was on a stunt when I came clear and I ran right by the quarterback. I should have had that one, it was money in the bank. I also missed one later when Jacob (Waasdorp) was around the QB and I dived and he slipped out of my hands.
It was the first game of my college career when I was in on every play. It makes me think back a couple years when I was sharing reps with Jerry DeLoach or with Jeremiah Parker last season. We wanted to get my back-up Tosh Lupoi some time, but the game circumstances didn't seem to allow it. Hopefully, we'll work him in this week. I certainly wasn't taking off as fast off the line of scrimmage in the fourth quarter as I was early in the game. But, I'd watch Jacob (Waasdorp) next to me and I don't know where he was getting his energy. He didn't have a lot of stats because of some of the stunts and stuff we were doing, but he was explosive off the ball late in the game.
I knew we were both real tired after the game. Usually, he and I are the last out of the lockerroom after the game and he's usually even later than me. This time, I was the last guy in our row, so I know I didn't have all that much energy.
But, I still made it down to Kleeberger Field to be with the parents of teammates for the post-game get together. It was great to hang out after a victory. It was good to see Chris Ball, who had a big sack. He's a comedienne. He's also one of the great trivia experts on the team. He's seen probably every movie ever made from the 1970's on. He'll know every single opening line from movies. It's hard to trip him up on anything to do with movies.
Overall, everybody was happy with the win. We all were a little disappointed in knowing we have to clean some things up, on special teams and in every area. But, it's something good to build on.
After getting together with the teammates, my girlfriend and I just headed home and watched some of the Washington-Miami game on TV as her brother plays for the Huskies. It was good for the Pac-10 to see Washington win and good to see her brother (Jeremy Stevens) catch a touchdown pass.
When I came in on Sunday, Coach Dutton said I had a good game, but he was also hard on me. I appreciate that. It makes me a better football player.
I'm glad to be on ESPN. Being on the West Coast, we all sit at home Saturday mornings and watch those early games wishing we could be on national TV. It's an opportunity to show the nation what our team is about. It's also an opportunity for me. But, really every game is a big game, so this is just one more.
This week will be a real challenge in a top 20 team on the road. I know a couple of their linemen. Dick Butkis' son Luke and I played in a prep all-star game in Florida a few years ago and I got to know their top offensive lineman Marques Sullivan when we were both on the Playboy All-America weekend in Arizona this past May. He seemed like a good guy. There wasn't any trash talking going on, as we both knew we'd be playing in September. I'm just studying his strengths and weaknesses this week in the film room. Probably, the same thing he's doing with me.
They seem to have a good running game, so it's going to be a real challenge.
I talked to my Dad a little early in the week. He was in Detroit with his team (Redskins) and couldn't watch our game on the satellite. But, I mailed him a copy. I can expect a call real soon with his critique.
I'm real excited to playing games again and can't wait to get on the field this week and compete against Illinois. It's a great opportunity.