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Being on the Road Isn't a Problem

January 04, 2006|MICHAEL HUFF | Texas' Michael Huff is a senior All-American safety. He e-mailed The Times on Tuesday, writing about the Longhorns' preparations and his pregame routine.

This week has been different than I imagined. I thought we were going to come out here and be a little nervous. But we went out to the first day of practice last Thursday with enthusiasm and speed. As the week has gone on, we have become more and more confident in ourselves.

Preparing for this game away from home has been a little challenging, but we generally play pretty well on the road. For most of the seniors, this is our fifth bowl game, so we are used to being away from home for a week.

Everyone has been very welcoming, and now we are just ready to go out there and play.

After Tuesday's final stadium walk-through I went back to the hotel and watched some more film in my room. Then I took the rest of the day to rest and get mentally prepared for the game. The defensive backs got together and spent some time going over a few things.

(Today), I will wake up early, pray and thank God that he blessed me to see another day. In the morning, I don't want to get too involved in the game because it doesn't start until 5 p.m. The last thing you want to do is get pumped up too early and lose momentum at game time. We will have a pregame meal early in the afternoon and a position meeting with Coach (Duane) Akina.

After that, we have about an hour to ourselves to reflect on the past month and everything that has led up to this game. Then we will have a team meeting and head off to the game.

Once we get to the stadium, I like to put on my jersey and get everything organized. I go out on the field for a few minutes, run around and get loosened up.

Afterward, I go back in the locker room, stretch, and get my ankles and wrists taped. I like to sit quietly at my locker and listen to Vince Young getting everybody pumped up.

My style is to stay focused, level-headed and visualize the kickoff.

When we run out of the tunnel, seeing and hearing all of the fans is what really gets me excited and ready. I always kneel in the end zone and pray, then it is time for kickoff.

This game is dedicated to Coach Brown and Coach Akina. They have been there for me for the last five years and I would really like to give them a national championship in return.

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