Wednesday, November 21, 2007

We're Playing 13!

Being bowl eligible is an amazing accomplishment for this football team. After everything that we've been through together it would've been easy to lose games and make excuses about how emotionally exhausted or distracted we were. The thing is, we knew that's not what Coach Hep would've done. That's not what we want. Hep was the ultimate role model in showing us how to handle adversity. That is part of what defines us as people. Becoming bowl eligible is dedicated to him. We're finishing what he started; we're playing 13!

The regualr season has gone by so fast. It seems like just yesterday we were working through team drills in 100-degree heat. One of the things my teammate and friend Terrance Turner said after the win against Purdue was, "Camp was hot!" I laughed, but what he said has stuck in my mind. When things get hard it's good to remember how hot camp was or how we felt after our eighth gasser, or how cold and dark it was when we awoke at 5:30 a.m. for winter conditioning. All of that was intended to make us successful and to ultimately earn and win a bowl game.

In a regualr season full of big plays, record-breaking feats and clutch plays, I've had the most fun I've ever had playing football. I also think most of my teammates would tell you the same thing. My favorite play of the season was, ofcourse, Austin Starr's game-winning kick in the Bucket Game. But a close second was Kellen Lewis' "pass to himself" and flip into the end zone at Iowa...Priceless.

From opening night against Indiana State to the amazing sellout against Purdue, there was no doubt in our minds that we would achieve our goal of "Playing 13." I may never experience a moment like what went down against Purdue. The atmosphere was amazing, "The Rock" was packed and the weather was perfect. We were more ready than ever before because the stakes were high, but not as high as our confidence level.

I guess it was fitting for the game to come down to a game-winning kick. The crowd rushed the field and we were so happy that many of us cried. The scene in the locker room was one of jubilation and immense happiness. We couldn't contain ourselves from dancing, singing, crying, hugging each other and praying. There were so many people in the locker room, everyone wanted to be a part of the celebration, and I don't blame them. It's been a long time coming.

Fittingly, Jane Hoeppner was the person who placed the block "I" on the Bucket. It was a Kodak moment. She deserved to be involved in our celebration. She is our heart. She is everything that Coach Hep embodied. The win was dedicated to her and her family.

I will never forget that game for as long as I live. I will never forget all who played a part in this season, whether the person is a player or not. Saturday, November 17, was the day we solidified the goal Coach Hep set out for us. We now wait to figure out where we are going and heck, we might as well win the bowl game!

It's all for you Coach Hep. We love you and miss you. You're in our hearts forever.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Congratulations! There was no more fitting end than what you guys did against Purdue in front of 50,000 screaming Hoosiers. Seven wins, the Bucket, and a bowl game. Now let's go out and WIN 13!

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Brian. I dont think that even I will ever forget those final moments and celebration--so I cant imagine how great it must be for the team and coaching staff.

Thanks for all your hard work.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts with all of us this season. It's been a special addition to the entire wonderful experience that has been IU football this year. Now I can't wait to hear all about the bowl experience and the next victory celebration. I hope you and your family have a great Thanksgiving holiday.

Ceejay

Betsy said...

Bryan, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts with us this season--in addition to being an exciting player, you write so well, and you have so much heart. You're a great spokesman for a team we have loved this year. We can't wait to watch you win the bowl game!

Anonymous said...

I was at the '67 win over Purdue. It was my last game at IU after 7 years of undergrad and grad work. I know how the current fans of IU must feel. I still remember the excitement I shared with old friends after that game. I haven't been in Bloomington since I left in '68, but this win over Purdue makes me want to come back and just walk around.

My Big Brown Opinion said...

That was the greatest game I've ever attended. Congratulations. I just wish we all could have seen more from #27! I can't wait to buy my bowl game tickets and see an IU win in game 13!

Anonymous said...

i like your thoughts on the season. but i would have to disagree with you on one thing the greatest play came from the future starting CB Christopher Phillips. the first time that i have ever seen a play like that. and the first top ten #1 play in IU football history. he will be great!!

Brian said...

Good stuff man, thanks for all your posts on your successful season! If its the Motor City Bowl, Insight Bowl, or Champs Sports Bowl, Good luck!

GMYH said...

Great season, Bryan, and keep up the writing in the off-season. Good luck in whatever bowl you guys land in. I will be there to cheer you guys on no matter where it is. Having been a season ticket holder since my freshman year (1996), it's been a long time coming.

Anonymous said...

Great post, Bryan--thank you. Congratuations on your outstanding season. The bucket game was one for the ages. In fact, it was the most exciting sporting event I have attended, and I have been to many, including our '87 basketball championship. There were tears of joy in stands, as well. IU alumni and fans are so proud of the team; we will be pulling for you to win game 13!