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Speed was the key against Tennessee


The following is Jaguars wide receiver Keenan McCardell's diary for Sept. 16-23, 2001.

Sunday, September 16, 2001

Not playing was pretty good. It seemed like a bye week. We get a Sunday off during the bye week, but there wasn't any football on television. It was nice to have a day off to spend with my family, go to church, fellowship, and spend time with family. It was a day to remember why I play this game. I'm blessed to be playing this game. Sunday was just about enjoying my family.

Monday, September 17, 2001

Monday came around and it was a work week. We had our minds set because we knew we were going to play on Sunday. It was back to business. It was Tennessee and this team had been a thorn in our side. Monday was a day when everyone got film. We buckled down and really studied these guys. I try to get the edge in film study. I look at defenses and situations; what defense they played during a particular down and distance situation. I look at people who are going to cover me. I look at their technique, tendencies that they have. I try to see when the opponent blitzes. That's a big thing. If you can get a key to when they're going to blitz, you can be ahead of the game. I was looking to see when Tennessee was going to blitz. I think everyone found it. Their blitz was something that you had to look for and look for hard.

Tuesday, September 18, 2001

Tuesday was a regular work day for us. We had an extra day of preparation, which we needed. There was a lot of focus on the field. We were really in tune to what we had to do. People had high energy on Tuesday. It was, like, we're back to work; back to hitting. We were flying around on Tuesday. I felt great on Tuesday. The extra week truly helped me out. I was getting back into the groove; back into Keenan's ways, turning, cutting, starting and stopping. The guys say, "You have a crazy body," because I can go this way and then that way. I was feeling real good about myself coming in and out of my cuts.

Wednesday, September 19, 2001

We thought their front-four was going to be very, very tough, with the likes of Kevin Carter and Jevon Kearse on the ends. They have Thornton and Evans in the middle and we felt their front-four was something we were going to have to work on. The big thing in practice was our speed up front because those guys come with a lot of speed. Our linemen were ready to step up and take on the challenge. Coach was emphasizing to the scout team, "Give them speed, give them speed." After my day at the stadium, I just relaxed and laid back. This was the week that Tennessee was coming in. I was trying to get all the rest I could. I did not have any extra activities.

Thursday, September 20, 2001

Thursday seemed like it was Friday. The week was dragging along. Everybody had two practices and we were bouncing around, but it was only Thursday. We had to tune our enthusiasm down. Don't peak to early and we were just trying to stay focused. Thursday was not a braids day for me. It was a day when I was still trying to get my rest. I was still doing my stretching program so I can get back. My thing this year is to conserve as much energy away from the stadium as I can. The more energy I conserve, the more I'll have on Sunday, and I want to have a lot of energy every Sunday.

Friday, September 21, 2001

This was a true Friday. Guys were, like, "Let's get it on." The hay's in the barn real soon. We knew we were going to have a packed house, a crazy house and a madhouse here at Alltel. We knew we were going to have a patriotic theme. This is a major navy community. We were feeling the theme and the energy of the community through the media.

Saturday, September 22, 2001

Saturday I had a busload of my family arrive in town from Houston. I had 50 people come in on a chartered bus. I saw some cousins and uncles who I hadn't seen in a while. I saw my mom and dad, who coordinated the trip, and that's all I did on Saturday before I went to the hotel. It was fun just to hang out and talk noise with my uncles. They got me really focused because they were Houston Oilers fans and they're kind of Tennessee Titans fans. My family has always been the type that will tell you never give up. Once you have an opportunity, take advantage of it. My family has encouraged me to do my best and to be the best and never let someone say that you're not doing your best. Just being around them on Saturday brought back memories.

Sunday, September 23, 2001

The game went back and forth. It was a great game because both defenses were playing well. Their offense would make a play and then our defense would stop them and vice versa. It was going back and forth like a tug of war. The team with the better conditioning won. It was hot. I think the heat got to them. We executed down the stretch and made some plays and I think that's what helped us win. I felt good. I was close to breaking a couple and I truly felt I could have. I'm getting back to where I need to be. I'm throwing people off me and getting ready to turn it up for some big plays. If I make a short catch, I have to make a big run. That's something I've worked on in the offseason. When I get the opportunity, I have to contribute. I have a lot of friends still in Cleveland. I know a lot of people in the community and, when we play in Jacksonville, I know they'll be watching up there and I don't want to get a phone call from those guys. I get jacked up and I'm ready to play.

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