Dec. 28, 2010
By Brian Castello
Editor's note: Notre Dame walk-on quarterback Brian Castello is contributing a daily diary from the Sun Bowl for the South Bend Tribune this week.
EL PASO, Texas - Greetings from El Paso. Something happened today that rarely happens with coach Kelly's way of doing things -- we got to sleep in.
After the hectic first day, everyone needed it. Most of us did at least. A handful of the guys went to a local hospital this morning to sign autographs and some other stuff. Tommy Rees and Luke Massa said they enjoyed their time there and that the ND support far outweighed that of Miami.
Our hotel had a great spread for brunch, with an omelet station and plenty of other great food. Matt Mulvey and I spent a good five minutes after we ate, trying to bribe the coach handling bed checks at night to not report us if we stayed out later than our curfew. Needless to say, our attempts failed.
The next hour or two consisted of meetings and more meetings. Something unique to this hotel, at least in my experiences, is that some of the meeting rooms, our QB meeting room included, are typical hotel rooms just with the beds cleared out and tables brought in.
After meetings, we headed to practice at a nearby high school stadium. Because it is a high school stadium, the locker rooms aren't big enough for 100-plus guys each, so the offense and the defense used the home and away locker rooms, respectively.
Practice went well, as most of our stuff is already in from when we practiced back in South Bend, and now we are in the fine-tuning stage of things.
After practice we found a hair dryer and book bag, two of our bowl gifts, in our lockers. It wasn't surprising that Dan Fox, Tyler Eiffert, and Taylor Dever put the hair dryer to use right away as the rest of us instead saw it as an easy opportunity to make-up for missed or late Christmas gifts for our moms, sisters (Merry late-Christmas, Kristen), or girlfriends.
That wasn't the end of the bowl gifts for that day though, as we went downtown to the Hyundai Gift Suite. Surprisingly, it was really stressful. In short, we each get X points to spend, and there are various items worth different amounts of points.
For example, a 22-inch TV (my choice) is worth six points. Once we signed in, we each got a list of the items that were available and how many points each was worth. There were a ton of really cool things, like an Xbox, stereo systems, recliners, etc.
After scanning the items, Nick Lezynski exclaimed, "Hey guys, there's a GPS on here!" Who knew someone could get so excited about a GPS? It wasn't easy, though, as my good friends Sean Oxley and Ryan Kavanagh noted as we were leaving, "Who would've thought that spending other people's money could be so hard?"
Walking back to the bus afterward, Robby Toma, Manti Te'o and I were talking about what we chose, and were laughing about how tough the choices were, and how they each chose the PSP package so they can play games with each other on their flights to and from Hawaii.
By the time the night rolled around, most of the guys were pretty beat. Massa, Danny Spond, David Ruffer, Brandon Walker, Joe Romano and I headed to the movies, some of us seeing Little Fockers while the rest saw True Grit. As expected, Little Fockers was worth the trip as it had Ruffer, Walker and I laughing the whole time. It was another long day, and one day closer to beating Miami.