Go Utes!
Go Utes!
Louie Looks Back, Part II of an Occasional Series

King Louie Sakoda giives an inside look at the locker room atmosphere before the Sugar Bowl.

King Louie Sakoda giives an inside look at the locker room atmosphere before the Sugar Bowl.

Sept. 18, 2009

SALT LAKE CITY -
Louie Sakoda, dubbed King Louie during his All-America season in 2009, is writing occasional blogs remembering last year's magical 13-0 season. Sakoda, a consensus All-America place kicker, as well as a punting All-American, is now helping Utah's kicking game as a student assistant coach. His blog on the pre-game Sugar Bowl locker oome follows.

THE CALM BEFORE THE STORM

Brian Johnson takes chargeAnkles taped. Shoe laces double-knotted and tucked in. The defense in one room, offense in another. 15 minutes to game time. The biggest game of our lives about to unfold. One could easily hear a pin drop. A rookie stifling his cough, trying not to cause a ripple in this glassy pond of a locker room. Not one player looking at another. Assignments being mentally rehearsed over and over.

A teeter-totter of swagger and apprehension seemed to rock back and forth within each one of us. We had all prepared the way we were supposed to. We had all been living our lives right. All of the ingredients were there before us. However, there seemed to be a nagging thought in the back of each of our minds; that 91% of America was right. That Alabama was the better team. That SEC truly was the sheriff around these parts. I believe each and every one of us was a victim of these thoughts at one point or another. It seemed to plague the locker room. The cure? Brian Johnson. Our leader. Stone-faced. Anxious. Ready. He had an impenetrable aura around him that not one negative thought could infiltrate. He seemed to know something that day. Something that the rest of us, with that teeter-totter of death still spear-heading our thoughts, could not grasp. I believe what he knew then, and what the rest of the team and country knew after 60 minutes of play, was that this was a team of destiny. There was no reason to be afraid.

 

 

As the team huddled up, his swagger took hold of everyone. We all saw the determination and confidence in his eyes. He spoke with great conviction and without hesitation. The leader we had seen many flashes of through our previous 12 games was now here in full force telling us, perhaps even without words, that there was a reason that we were standing there on that day. That there was no way we would leave there without a victory. In an instant, we all knew that it truly was going to be a low tide in the Bayou. Coach Whittingham, with that same unassailable presence, strode through the crowd of players to the middle of the huddle. Sensing that his team had never been more ready for a game, he could not help but to let his excitement show. With more enthusiasm than ever before, he gave us his "60 minutes, everything you got" speech and the once glassy pond of a locker room was now a roaring tidal wave of cheers and screaming. "Family on 3! Family on me! 1,2,3! FAMILY!" We descended upon the battlefield, ready for whatever awaited us. The rest is history.
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