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There’s Still One Goal Left

Texas’ Michael Huff is a senior All-American safety from Irving, just outside Dallas. He e-mailed The Times on Friday, writing about the anticipation of playing for the national championship Jan. 4 in the Rose Bowl and how playing his senior season has allowed him to meet most of his personal goals.

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Even though the stakes are much higher for this year’s Rose Bowl, we have to keep the same mind-set because we try to treat every game with the same importance and face each team with the same intensity. We all know in the back of our minds that we are playing for the national championship, but we still want to stay calm and focused.

There is a lot of hype and media coverage about this game, but we are used to it. This is my fifth year playing football at Texas, so I have experienced the media coverage before and learned how to keep from being distracted. Every now and then, it gets overwhelming, but when you choose to play football for a big program such as Texas, that is what you signing up for. It comes with the territory.

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These are the two best teams in the nation. Some people have called this game the “perfect matchup.” We came into it knowing that this game would get a lot of attention. The only way to know who is the best is to go out there and play the game. Until then, we just have to concentrate on getting prepared.

I try not to worry too much about the BCS. The only way to get into this game is to win out, and so that is what these two teams did. Both teams played the game of football each Saturday this fall and won, and the BCS worked itself out this year.

I am not much of a superstitious person. The only thing I do the same is waiting for Cedric Griffin every day before practice. We walk out together and do the same at games. We pray before every game, then we pray again during and after each game. That is pretty much it.

Football is football; not a whole lot is left up to chance. Of course, things happen unexpectedly sometimes, but winning football games is about how you prepare during the week and how you execute during the game.

I don’t like to think about the fact that this is my last college football game. My five years at Texas have been more than I could ask for and I am glad I am finishing out this way. Of course, my feelings after the game will depend a lot on the outcome, but I don’t think it will really hit me until afterward. I will probably cry either way.

Last year, I thought a little bit about leaving for the NFL, but I knew that I had three goals at Texas: I wanted to get my degree, win the Thorpe Award (as college football’s best defensive back), and win a national championship. If I would have left last year, I would not have reached any of those goals. Now, I am two for two, so there is one thing left to work for.

This year’s team success started with Coach Mack Brown. He has brought confidence to this team and has let us go out there and play football. Through him, that trickles through the coaches and on down to the team leaders. I think we are doing a good job of keeping everybody levelheaded and mentally in tune with our goals. If we can do that for one more week and play at our best, we can’t ask for anything more than that.


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