Stafford Davis Diary
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I am happy this week is over -- it was a grinder. It was one of those weeks where you just want to push fast forward and get it over with. I don't mind school, but I just have a slight case of senioritis right now -- other things are just more interesting to me right now like sleep and sleep. So the two tests and the paper didn't put a smile on my face like the McDonald's dollar menu does.
On top of that, I was diagnosed with a sprained MCL on Monday, so I really didn't get to participate in practice on Tuesday and Wednesday. Before this week, sometimes in practice I dream of being injured and just hanging out on the sidelines with a nice cool orange Gatorade in my hand while talking to Kathy (Schniedwind) about her black lab, Mitty, and where she wants to go when she retires. But I soon figured out watching football practice is like getting invited to a barbeque and not being allowed to eat the food. I used to think about coaching after football, but after this week I know now it is not for me. Watching practice was horrible -- bottom line.
All that being said -- I will take being bored out of my gourd with two tests and a paper every week if we are going to put it on a team the way we did Murray State. I mean that was a good team and we flat out, played with more heart. But the best part about Saturday was getting to see my Mom and Dad after the game. My parents own their own businesses, so one usually has to stay back in town to deal with it. I rarely get to see them together at the same time. So after the game I got to talk to them for a little bit, mostly about football because my old man is so fired up about this team right now. It's funny because a lot of the time my coaches tell me to play for my teammates but I think a lot of the time I play for so much more than just my teammates. I play for God, my family, university and my coaches in the past. It's always good to see my mom and get some hugs from her. That was the hardest part about coming to college was coming from a loving house with a mom that gave me a hug and told me she loved me everyday. To one day waking up and having a roommate with a hairy back that I wouldn't hug for a grand.
Every day our team as whole is getting better at something. We are practicing better than we ever have in my playing career at ISU. There is a lot of energy and chemistry among all the guys. Its not offense or defense, this click or that click, it is about us. We really don't have one or two leaders, this team is full of leaders and guys that respect each others minds and talents. It cracks me up sometimes after practice we go to get a breakdown. Usually in a breakdown somebody will give some words of wisdom and then break down the huddle on "Beat Murray State", "Redbirds", or "eleven or none", something along those lines. In the past it was always the same one or two guys breaking it down and it was a very rapid process. This season when we break it down it takes about 30 seconds for one person to speak up because all of us understand that there are a lot of leaders on this team and nobody wants to step on anybody's toes.
I wasn't happy with the way I played against Eastern. There was a sense of confusion in my mind about if I was performing to the best of my ability. So the next day I went in to coach Johnson's office and asked him to watch film with me. If you didn't know, coach Johnson is an NFL caliber offensive line coach, so anytime I feel a little confused I just go to him and he can tell me exactly what I am not doing right. He took time out of his day to show me everything I need to be doing.
Both of us head to the meeting room (you have to be in a dark room to watch film, so it can project up onto the screen) and he is making me stand up and he is showing me how to fire my hands out of the center position. Every time he fires his hands to block me, he was knocking the wind out of me and I was sitting there like "ugh," praying to God that he doesn't do it again -- and he did. Then I started thinking "should I tell him he doesn't know his own strength" or should I just keep getting the wind knocked out of me. Yeah, I just kept getting the wind knock out of me. The moral of the story is don't let a 6-foot-7 man hit you in the chest, because that junk hurts.
But no pain no gain, because I feel like I played well against Murray State. For two months I have been trying to figure out this center stuff and all of a sudden in the second quarter a light bulb went off inside my head and I was like "okay, this stuff makes sense." Center is a lot different from guard because you are basically a one-armed man with no neutral zone. I was frustrated with not knocking as many people down at first and not always having someone to block on every play but I am starting to get used to it and have an understanding of what I need to do.
Go You Redbirds!