Holiday Trip Report – 12/26

I woke up on Tuesday morning at 6 AM to get ready to leave.  The plan was to get out of Roseville by 7 AM for the 8-plus hour trip.  That gave me lots of extra free time to stop for lunch and get lost a couple times trying to find the practice at San Diego State that started at 4:30 PM.  As with all trips, last minute preparation slowed me down a bit.  By the time I had filled the gas tank and got a couple of donuts (insert Homer voice here “Ummm… Donuts”), I wasn’t out of Roseville on the Freeway until nearly 8 AM.

I stopped to fill up the gas tank and get lunch just before the grapevine.  I decided that since it was already noon and I had nearly 3 hours left on the trip that I would just grab some food and eat in the car.  By the time I was through Los Angeles I realized why stopping for lunch can be a good thing… my bladder was about to explode, necessitating another stop.

By the time I arrived at San Diego State it was already 3:45 and indeed it took me a little while to find the practice field where the team was practicing.  I arrived there shortly after 4:00 PM to find that the official practice had just started (it starts with stretching) and that the practice was going to be closed to both the public AND the press.

That’s pretty unusual.  I’ve never been denied access to a practice before as press.

But we all know how Tedford likes to control things.  So I was able to do was watch and snap a few pictures of about 10 minutes of stretching and a few minutes of warm-up ball toss before I was kicked out and told I could come back at 6:30 PM to get some interviews (although I should be fair to the very nice football SID John Sudsbury, he was very polite in the way he kicked me out).

In those few minutes I saw a team that was much more determined than I had seen in practices at Memorial Stadium.  They were much more focused on doing their stretches well and their synchronization to the various activities was better than normal.  Even the clapping of hands had a stronger ring to it than normal.

I’m sitting in the parking lot across from the practice field typing this up and I can hear the coaches shouting and the players yelling as they practice.  Even from just the sounds I can tell it is a very focused practice.

It’s clear from both the closed practice and the sounds from it that Tedford and the team don’t want a repeat of the 2004 Holiday Bowl.   They want that 10th win.

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