Sunday, October 31, 2010

Just Another Beautiful Day in Southern California

First of all, I have to share this right off the bat. My beautiful wife, Cindy, made the trip over to UCLA and she went on her own so to say. She went over early with Benny and some of the managers. She spent a lot of time with managers on this trip. Normally, she will fly with the team when she goes, and hang out with the other wives, but this time was different. The first thing she said when she woke up this morning, was, and I quote: "You have the most awesome managers working for you. They don't just work hard, they are GREAT kids!" To me, that said it all. She is so right.

Once again, the trip went very smooth, and it is because of the hard work by everyone in the operation, and it starts with Tim Pfennig and Benny Conger. They do an OUTSTANDING job of working with the students. The thing is, they don't just work hard on the trip, but everyone works so hard during the entire week, and that is what makes the trips and games go so smooth!

There were many things to be happy about this weekend in Pasadena, but the best thing, besides the final score, was there was NO rain during the game! When we left the hotel in Glendale at 5:30am, it was pouring rain and it seemed to rain even hard the closer we got to Pasadena. We stopped for breakfast at McDonalds in Pasadena, and it was pouring. The good news was that once it got to about 9am or so, the sun came out and conditions were PERFECT!

The team moved to 7-1 and all of us in the equipment room could not be any happier for the coaches and players. Also, Coach Stoops got to .500 in his overall record and it could not happen to a more deserving and super nice man. People have no idea what he inherited here at the UofA when he arrived. He has built this program from NOTHING, the only thing he had when he got here was problems!!! Now, we have players who go to class, work incredibly hard, play even harder, and graduate from the school. No one ever seems to talk about that in the media. I have been doing this for over 30 years, and I have had the honor of working with some GREAT head coaches, but none of them can compare to Coach Stoops. I have never been treated better by a coach. Not only does he treat me good, but everyone one in the equipment operation, including the managers! He is without a doubt, the most genuine good person that I have ever been able to work with! Congratulations Coach Stoops!!!!!

Now it is on to Stanford to take on the Mighty and Powerful Cardinal. I am so excited about this week, it should be fun.

Enjoy some pictures of our trip to the Rose Bowl stadium in Pasadena, California:

Without a doubt, some of the BEST equipment managers in the business! FRONT ROW from left to right: Billy Worthington, Ryan Ewalt, Jordan Bates, Ben Hulka, Jordan Gobel and Tim Pfennig; BACK ROW: David Bodzin, Mike Baranowski, Mike Reed and Benny Conger.
Speaking of the BEST, Erick Harper is without a doubt the BEST Director of Football Operations I have ever worked with, hands down!!!!! He coordinates every trip, and they are ALWAYS smooth!!!!! Here he is making sure everything is being done right on the tarmac at Burbank Airport:

Every trip we go on, even in places like Pullman/Moscow, we have a police escort, but no one does it like the California Highway Patrol in LA!!!! They are amazing every single time!

Smooth sailing from the Burbank airport to our hotel in Glendale!

3 motorcycle cops keep the traffic behind us out of our way as we move over 3 or 4 lanes so we can exit I-5 to the freeway to Glendale, where we stayed:

Motorcycle cops stop the entrance ramp on I-5 as we go by with no traffic. NICE!

What I love the most about this picture is the smiles on all of the managers faces at the McDonalds in Pasadena, even though it was not even 6am yet!

This is a view of the locker room when we arrived early yesterday morning:
A view of the coaches locker room before I started setting it up:

Even I had a little office/desk area in the coaches locker room. Man, this place is so nice!

This is a view of the locker room from the coaches locker room:

Jordan and Mike working hard early yesterday:

At 6:25am yesterday, Ben Hulka was putting out game pants:

Mike Reed puts the player's game pants in their lockers early yesterday morning:

Ben Hulka, loading game jerseys in the players locker. NOTE: it is not even 6:30 am yet.

Nice spacious locker room!!!!!

Ryan Ewalt does some work early yesterday:

Coach Stoops had a desk, TV and locker in his office, which is right off of the coaches locker room. They thought of everything in this visitors locker room!!!!

Coach Stoops locker in his office:

Robert Lloyd and Ben Hulka do an AWESOME job of packing the coaches wardrobe trunks for each and every single game:

These are the coaches lockers at the Rose Bowl. VERY NICE!!!!!

From Left to Right: Ben Hulka, Billy Worthington and Mike Baranowski:

Ryan Ewalt and Jordan Bates, doing some detailed work early yesterday at the Rose Bowl:

Mike Reed gets a players jersey and shoulder pads ready for the game:
Jordan Gobel getting a pair of shoulder pads ready for a jersey:

David Bodzin pulling a jersey on to a pair of shoulder pads:

Jordan Bates doing some work before the team arrived. It was nice to have all the plasma screen TV's on while we were working!

Each game, we take 2 nice big shower towels for each coach. The towels have their initials on the towel:

David Bodzin, focusing on making sure this player's helmet is ready for the game:

Ben Hulka working on a helmet before the team arrives:

Billy Worthington pays close attention to a pair of shoes, getting them ready for the player:

Billy and Jordan working hard early yesterday morning, making sure our players had everything nice and ready:

A look at the players lockers all set up:

Jordan Bates, working hard as usual, tightening up all the screws on a helmet before the team arrives:

David Bodzin made his first trip ever (this is his first year) and worked hard, just like in this picture of him cleaning a pair of shoes:

This is how the coaches lockers looked when they arrive. Each game we provide them with their own towels and two hangers to hang their clothes on when they change.

Normally we bring a couple of rolling tables for putting items for the coaches on each road game, but the Rose Bowl has a very nice counter, seemingly built just for us so I can put out the things they need for each road game:

Ben Hulka getting a locker ready. NOTE: we put two hangers in every locker each game so they can hang up the clothes on a nice hanger that they wore to the stadium:

Some of the lockers all set up for the players:

Tim visits with Billy while he cleans a pair of shoes for the game:

One of our new trunks by Olympic Case. This case makes for very easy hand out and organization. It is always close to the window on road games:

Olympic Case makes all of our cases and trunks, and they do an incredible job of custom work at a very affordable price! This is our valuable trunk. As you can see, we have plenty of space in each cubby in case a player wants to put his ipod or other electronic equipment in their cubby, along with their valuable bag:

This is the extra shoe trunk with detachable cleats that I blogged about on Friday. Fortunately, even though the area had heavy rains in the very early morning hours, the field was in almost perfect condition and we did not have to change one single player. It is comforting to know though that we were ready and prepared:

As you can see, every single player traveling has a back up pair of shoes in this extra shoe trunk. The cubbies are in numerical order so we can find them quickly:

As you can see in the close up shot, most every single shoe in this trunk is a detachable, longer cleat than what the players normally wear on grass or field turf:

Jordan, Benny and Mike do a walk test early Saturday morning. They started set up around 7:30am. Early set up is so important with this system!

A look at the pressbox at the Rose Bowl. Supposedly, this will all be torn down and a brand new one will start being built on Jan. 2, 2011:

Podium in the visitors media room:

Another picture of the media room for the visitors after the game:

Mike Reed had the equipment room all set up for the players. By the way, the Rose Bowl equipment room is SOOOOO nice!
Managers enjoyed some hot dogs before the team arrived. Nothing like a nice Oscar Meyer hot dog at 10:00 in the morning:

With a 12:30 kickoff, I had some hot dogs in the bag warmer in their locker room. The small case to the right is what we put their valuables in:

This was Coach Stoops locker in his office:

This is what the coaches locker room looked like all set up:
Players take the field for kickoff against the mighty Bruins: