January 7th A-State Football Bowl Blog with Tom Castilaw & Kelcie McCray

JONESBORO (ASU) – This is the fourth and final entry in a daily blog with Arkansas State senior center Tom Castilaw and senior safety Kelcie McCray that is being featured this week on AStateRedWolves.com, the official Web site of ASU Athletics, leading up to the GoDaddy.com Bowl. Arkansas State fans can now keep up with the Red Wolves through a player's perspective during their time in Mobile, Ala.

Both Castilaw and McCray will give their thoughts at the end of each day, Jan. 4-7, about both their personal and the team's experiences with practices and other various events associated with the bowl game.  The blog will be found on both the home page and football page of AStateRedWolves.com.


Tom Castilaw 

Wolves live in packs. They live in community. They work together for the good of the pack. Each contributes to the cause. Each wolf has a responsibility to the pack. They achieve more together than they do alone. The pack wins when every wolf is focused on the same thing......

WE are the pack. All of us are responsible for this Sunday night game at 8 p.m. on national television. Every single one of us is representing ASU and Red Wolf nation on ESPN. Every player that has already played here. Every coach that has ever coached here. Every student that has ever walked the campus sidewalks. Every fan that has ever stepped in the stadium. And all those that have yet to come. WE are all Red Wolf nation.

This morning was good. The team woke up and had breakfast. After that we went to the USS Alabama and got to see some amazing history. It was truly a blessing to get to have a small look at what life was like for the people who served on that ship. It really is life changing if you close your eyes and put yourself on the ship when it was being used. After the ship we went to practice and had a quick walk through and made some last minute run throughs and checkups on our game plan. It will show on Sunday. After practice we got back to the hotel and it was swarming with pack members from all over. There was red all over the hotel lobbies. Excitement is in the air. The hunt is on.

I think the parade deserves its own paragraph haha. Mardi gras was AWESOME. The floats and the parade itself was cool but when I say Mardi gras was awesome what I'm referring too is the streets of red and black lining the blocks of downtown Mobile. That kind of stuff is getting me fired up for this game Sunday. Can you feel it? Cause I do and it's boiling in my veins. The anticipation of the work we have put in this whole season as a football team, a school, a community and a nation. A-STATE NATION. Everything we worked for is right here. It's approaching fast, so fast that we have to be ready or we'll miss it. Time to focus. And I know we are ready by the parade tonight. Thank you Mobile for a great parade, but thank you even more Red Wolf nation for filling these streets. The sight of the parade I will remember forever.

After the parade we had a team meeting and got to hear from some players who have gone before us. That too was such a blessing. They are really the pioneers and they are the ones who have helped US get here now. We owe them a lot for making the program what it is. Their words have truly inspired us.

Time to focus. Everyone here in Mobile enjoy your time. We have and we will but it's time to focus. Remember what kind of trip we are on. A business trip. And if the whole pack does its job. If all the pack focuses. If the team prepares to play with the great effort and passion we know how to. If the fans come ready to scream and holler like they know how to. If the band rocks the stadium like they always do. If the cheerleaders get the crowd fired up like they always do. If all of us focus on our responsibility, then Sunday night after the game there will be howls heard all through Mobile. And after that we can turn this business trip to a celebration and we'll leave saying..........

Business is GOOD. Howl yeah. Let's get it. Goodnight. I'm going to bed. One last thing before I do, all glory to God. I have to say that.

Kelcie McCray

Today was yet another day filled with events. After breakfast this morning, we had about an hour of downtime.  After that, we boarded the buses and headed to the USS Alabama for lunch and a tour of some of the submarines and ships that were used during WWII.  This was very educational and was a great experience. I was surprised to see how small those ships were on the inside. There is no way I could live in such a crowded space for months at at time. Not to mention that I've never been on a ship (or a boat for that matter).

After the tour, we headed to practice. Today's practice was like a normal Friday practice. We just ironed out some small details to help for the game.

After practice, we came back to the hotel for a team dinner. It was pretty obvious that it must be really close to game day. We were welcomed back to the hotel by what seemed to be thousands of fans. It was like a sea of red everywhere.

My favorite part of the day was the Mardi Gras Parade after dinner. I watched the parade from the fourth floor balcony with most of my teammates. I really wanted to be down there with the rest of the fans, but I just thought it would help me get mentally prepared for the game if I wasn't in the middle of all the commotion. It sent chills down my back to see how many Red Wolf fans were here to support us. There were thousands of fans lined up in front of our hotel. It really fired all of the players up to see so many people there to support us.

We can't thank the fans enough for everything that they do for us.  It means so much to me and this team that we could bring that winning attitude back to Arkansas State and give these fans something to cheer for and to be proud of. Tomorrow is the biggest game of my life and I will leave everything on the line for this school, my teammates, and the fans. I can't wait to see how the city is going be rocking after we beat NIU. Thanks again to all the fans and for tuning in these past few days to follow the team.