Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Stallions' First "Friendly"

Beautiful Cyprus!

Team picture of the Stallions

I am writing my first blog in a series of blog's about the Stallions 2008 football season. I will write a blog recapping every "friendly" (the word used in Soccer for scrimmage, which the football teams around here have also adopted) and all games. So, please check the blog out every couple of weeks for a break from the girly stuff and an update on the progress of the Stallions.

We recently had three coaches and one athletic trainer come from Alabama to put on a four day min-camp with our team. We had two a day practices the first three days and due to snowy conditions (it seriously looked like Lambeau field) on the final day we had to end the camp early. The temperature here was in the low thirties every day and it snowed three out of four days. However, the players and coaches all bowed up and we had a very profitable camp. We were able to sharpen up our offense, defense and we put in all of our special teams. I recently went to a "friendly" between two teams in the league and the first four long-snaps to the punter were snapped over his head. Therefore, we made this one of the priorities of our special teams practices. By the end of the camp we found our long-snapper and he has yet to mess up a snap. The coaches really related to the players well and did a wonderful job of teaching and coaching. However, I do have one complaint. The coaches had the guts to bring a ton of Auburn and Alabama t-shirts for our team. The only thing that could have been worse would have been Tennessee t-shirts. However, the players seemed to really like them and some even wore the ugly things home. All in all we had an outstanding camp and I had a blast showing this Alabama country boys around the city and introducing them to American Football in this part of the world.

This past Sunday we got back from Cyprus, where we spent 3 days practicing and scrimaging with the EMU Crows (a university team located in Northern Cyprus). On thursday February 21st we flew out of the airport at 9:00 A.M. with a rag tag group of twenty-eight football players, half of whom had their shoulder pads in a trash bag that was wrapped in duct tape (it reminds me of something my friend Brandt Waggoner would do). Furthermore, we had one assistant coach come and Anna was brave enough to make the trip as well. We landed about 10:30 A.M. and we were in a place a far cry from our new home. Instead of snow we had beautiful sunshine and instead of concrete we saw grass. It was a nice release from the big city. We eventually had a total of thirty-three players all of whom stayed on campus in the university dorms. However, Anna and I stayed at the home of the opposing coach.

Thursday afternoon we practice with the other team. We split into two drills. One drill was a 7 on 7 passing drill and the other was an inside drill where we worked on running plays. Lastly, we brought the whole team together and scrimmaged against one another. The crows run the spread read-option offense. Furthermore, they have several good athletes and are well coached. Therefore, Thursday afternoon was a very tough day for the Stallions. We were not used to this type of offense, for they are the only team in the league that runs this offense. Furthermore, we were a step slower that the crows. However, I was extremely proud of our effort and it was clear that we were getting better.

Friday morning I got my team together and we practiced for about an hour and a half by ourselves. We added some things to our offense and defense. Furthermore, we had the opportunity for the linemen to push a sled for the first time in their careers. They were tired of it after five minutes, it no longer looked as fun to them as it once did. Lastly, I tried to simulate the spread offense for them by playing quarterback against our defense. I think it is safe to say that I looked a lot like Pat White against Oklahoma. That afternoon we participated in a controlled scrimmage with the crows (each team would run 10 plays and after every play the ball was brought back to the same point). We played much better for about the first five plays of every series. Our defensive adjustments were working. However, it became clear that our conditioning was not what it needed to be to compete with a team of this caliber. The crows posted a 6-2 record last year and averaged right at 60 points per contest. So at the end of the day it was clear that we had gotten better, however, I was not very confident about the scrimmage game coming up the next day.

On Saturday, we lined the field with yard markers and end-zone pile-ons and played a four quarter scrimmage game against the crows. We received the opening kickoff and we were shut down on the first two plays from scrimmage. Therefore, on third down we called a pass play and the quater back was hit and fumbled the ball and they recovered on the five yard line. The defense held strong for a couple of plays, but then broke on third down. However, we came back and held strong on the 2 point conversion (most fields including this one do not have filed-goal post). The following kick-off was a touch back and so we began our second possession on the 20 yard line. We recovered well from the previous possession and held the ball for a total of 20 plays that lasted close to 15 minutes (yes, this is correct, we looked like some kind of BIG 10 team). We converted on two third downs and on three fourth downs, including a 4th and 10 on their 40 yard line. I still do not know what I was thinking. We had the ball first and goal on there 6 yard line. We ran 3 plays up the gut and were stopped to 4th and 2. We ran a pass play to our big tight end. However, the pass was a little out of his reach. So, our 20 play drive amounted in no points. The Crows proceeded to score on the final play of the half on a 50 yard run. They then converted the two-point conversion. So, the score at half was 14-0. The second half was a little less eventful and the entire 4th quarter was played by the second and third units. The final score was Crows 26 and Stallions 0. However, I was extremely proud of my team. We played inspired, with heart and with much more intensity than we had the previous 2 days of practice where we were practically run off the field. Furthermore, I was proud of our 20 play drive, it showed that we could hold the ball and sustain a long drive. I believe that this was a great start to the 2008 season.

We flew out the following evening and arrived home around 9:00 P.M. We had all of the players and coaches. We are working on putting together another "friendly" next Saturday against the Tigers, a team we scrimmaged back in early December before I arrived. They beat us 32-0. Therefore, this should be a very good test of where we have come as a team. So, please stay tuned for more updates on the Stallions.

Coach Akin

(Sorry no video yet, just pictures, Anna and I are working on getting some video posted)

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Walking (Alot) in a Winter Wonderland

View from our apartment-If you look closely you can see the down pour of snow

A few days ago we had what I would call a mini-blizzard. It snowed for three days straight and we got at least a few inches. The snow was like nothing I had seen before in Kentucky, it was just a solid down pour for hours on end. I really enjoyed it and it definately made for a cozy weekend at home. I found myself looking out the window a ton. It is so funny to think that the things people do in snow wouldn't be universal, but for some reason I was surprised to see all the snow ball fights outside our apartment and snowmen. I was fascinated! In a such a big and busy city the snow brought everyone out onto the streets to play. I saw alot of families laughing, having a wonderful time, and it put a big smile on my face. Of course Tim and I had to get out there and have a few snow ball fights of our own. And I continue to get hit with a few by my husband unexpectedly when we run errands. Sadly, our winter wonderland has turned into a winter slush, which makes it pretty gross to walk around the streets. Ah well, I guess we can cross our fingers and hope for maybe one more snow before winter goes away.

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Sunday, February 3, 2008

Pazar (Bazaar in English)

The bazaar on Tuesday's and Friday's near our apartment is quickly becoming one of Tim and I's favorite places to go in Istanbul. I love it for several reasons.

#1- I have never seen my husband get excited to go shopping until we experienced the bazaar.

#2- It's really fun to go with Tim see everything together, and embarass ourselves trying to use Turkish the best we know how.

#3- The prices are unbelievable.

#4- You can get anything you can think of, clothes, socks, shoes, kitchen supplies, jewelry, baby gifts, scarves, produce, name it, its probably there.

#5- The produce is so, so good!! Everything is so fresh it tastes amazing!

#6- In a very modern city, the city really makes us feel like we are in a special foreign place.

The pictures I have posted and these reasons cannot describe how fun the bazaar is, just another reason for everyone to come visit!! You have to experience for yourself.

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An Akin in Turkey, besides us

A fun sign we saw the other day. I looked it up and emlak means real estate, but we were just excited to see Akin of course.

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Where does it come from?!

I mentioned in an earlier post about cleaning my floors, and how it should be a whole other post in itself, well here it is.... The picture above is my washcloth after only a few swipes on my floors in our living room. Let me explain, we are not generally dirty people. We always, always, take off our shoes when we come in our house, since we do so much more walking. Futhermore, it was probably two weeks ago that I cleaned my floors, and maybe this is what I should be expecting, but my floors never got this dirty at our place in North Carolina. I guess this is just something I have to get used to and toss it up to "city life". There is a humongous living on the other side of our walls and it finds its way to seep onto our floors. Needless to say cleaning the floors could become an obsession for some people, but I'm going to try to not let it control my life! But it does feel really good to know that I have gotten up all that dirt off my floors. And, I have to say I am one tired cookie after all that cleaning!

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Ahh....Much Better!

So, as you can tell my blog just got WAY CUTER!!!! I am so excited it turned out so well! It really does give me inspiration to go to my blog and write more. I definately recommend Jennisa (my blog designer) to anyone who is tired of their bland, boring, blogger template and wants something a little more enjoyable for themselves and their readers. She has some great colors and patterns to choose from on her website. You can find it on the little square on my blog that says "I just got PIMPED", how cute is that?!!! Anyways, she is so helpful and creative, you won't go away disappointed.

Thanks again Jennisa!!!

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