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Football is our sole focus


Monday, July 30, 2001--Football is all we do. I was just looking in the newspaper today to see if any assassinations or wars have broken out in the world, because sometimes we have no idea of what is going on because football is our sole focus. In college, the two-a-days were less time-intensive, but here we're going 12 hours a day. We are getting good work together with our snappers and getting our timing down, which is our most critical thing. I don't expect, as a rookie, to go out and punt incredibly. I'm not going to be Bryan Barker my first year here. He's left some huge shoes to fill, but I have to go in with reasonable expectations to perform and be a guy who can be counted on.

Tuesday, July 31, 2001--Tuesday was a good day because we were able to look ahead to another color of jersey out there on the field. For myself, it was a chance to get a look at a scrimmage-type setting with another NFL team. I was looking forward to seeing how that was going to go. I was looking forward to see how I was going to react because the last time I was in a game was last December. It was encouraging to know that we had a lot to look forward to by the end of the week.

Wednesday, August 1, 2001--Whenever you have time off, you definitely take advantage of getting horizontal and getting your feet up. I've never been a nap guy, but I guarantee that I take one between every practice because I need it. I really don't get enough sleep in the evening and I'm worn out. It's not all physical with my position. I'm just worn out mentally. It takes a heightened focus every single day, twice a day, and I'm expected to be perfect on every single play. I have to focus hard for 15 plays or so during the day and it wears you out mentally.

Thursday, August 2, 2001--We lightened up on the kicking to make sure our legs were at full strength by Friday. The punter for the Saints is Toby Gowin and I have gotten to know him through the years. He's someone I've looked up to throughout the years. He punted at Dallas a few years ago and I was looking forward to seeing him kick and see how I match up against a veteran NFL punter. Mentally, I was trying to get ready, somewhat like a game situation. The Saints had a great season last year. The punt-block team is strong and we have a lot of young guys doing our punt protection for the first time in their lives. It's going to be a good test for us going out there and seeing what we are really made of.

Friday, August 3, 2001--We walked out of the locker room doors and to see the crowd was larger than in recent days was encouraging. There were a good bit of Saints fans there, too. That was surprising. It was exciting to see another color of jersey out there in a game-like situation and see what we are made of. It was a big day. We were going out there to perform well. I felt I hit the ball well, but not incredible. One good victory for myself when I went out there was that I wasn't nervous. I felt very relaxed and that's a big advantage coming from a program like Tennessee where you are playing in pressure-packed situations. I feel that has prepared me to be in an NFL pressure situation. We focused on kicking the ball outside the numbers directionally every single time. It has taken away from our distance sometimes, but it's going to be better for the team and that was what our focus was on Friday. We tried to keep the punt-returners out of the game and we really did a pretty good job of that. The punt-returners weren't able to break out and make any big plays. Our goal is to have a good net-punting average. Anyone can punt the ball 55 yards down the field and get the ball run back 15 or 20 yards and that's not good. So we are trying to kick directionally with hang time and accuracy. A week from today will be my first NFL game and I'm looking forward to that. It's going to be interesting as to how I react to everything. It's going to be nice to get in the stadium. I've stepped on the field maybe once or twice and kicked maybe only five balls on the field. This is a game. Most of the veterans look at this, maybe, as another scrimmage, but for myself, this is our first game. I have to go out there and succeed. It's some pressure, but it's nothing I'm not used to. I punt better in games. It's going to be a big week. My parents won't be down, but I'll call them after the game. It's a big week for our whole family.

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