Friday, August 18, 2017

Terrorist Attack in Barcelona and Our Last Day With the UDLAP Aztecas

Thursday, August 17, 2017:

The terrible news of the terrorist attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils today sickened all of us.

The Cambrils attack happened just a kilometer from Coach Bart Iaccarino's home. His wife and almost one year old son are safe but his level of concern has made it absolutely necessary for him to change his travel plans from next Monday to the first available flight to Barcelona tomorrow night to be back with his family.

The attack on Barcelona's Las Ramblas has left at least 13 dead and over 100 injured.

As for Laurie and I, Barcelona is probably our favorite city in Europe. Every time we go there we spend a huge amount of time walking the Las Ramblas pedestrian street that is usually packed with thousands of people enjoying the sights, sounds, cuisine and street performers that this wonderful walkway has to offer.

It was just such depressing news to hear.

Meanwhile, back in Cholula, Mexico . . .

It was our last day with the
coaches at UDLAP

Thank you Google Images

That is the Santuario de Nuestra Señora de Los Remedios sitting atop the overgrown Tepanapa Pyramid with the Popocatepetl volcano in the near distance.

Cholla and Puebla are ringed by several inactive volcanoes.

At least they were inactive while we were there.

Coach Mike Wood goes Rambo

Mike showed incredible fortitude as he is seen here in our hotel lobby sewing up the bleeding wound from a knife attack he suffered last night in a local bar.

Or maybe he just tore his shorts and is repairing them.

A different volcano as seen
from an UDLAP practice field

Part of UDLAP's main campus

Near their Student Union

They have HUGE ladybugs in Cholula!

After eating breakfast and doing a little souvenir shopping in the Student Union, we decided to take a walk through the campus before returning to the football offices.

"He's built like a brick shit house"

I guess this is the torso of the guy that this old phrase is referring to.

She longingly admired the
brick shit house despite her
broken ankle

"Templo del Dolor"

The Temple of Pain as it is called is the Aztecas home football field.

The stands are small, steep and
definitely NOT OSHA approved

behind the end zone bleachers
at the Templo del Dolor

A different view of the
Popocatepetl Volcano

In front of the Main Gym

UDLAP football coaches office

With Coach Oscar Sánchez

I've spent most of my time shadowing Oscar and asking him probably way too many questions.

He is an excellent offensive line coach and I have learned many new technique ideas from him.

I love the way he interacts with and teaches his players. 

Four National Championship Rings

Since Head Coach Eric Fisher took over the program in 2009, the Aztecas have won the Mexican National Championship four times and have been in at least one other final.

Part of the reason for their
success is that the staff holds
the team to these core values

They stress these ideas
as well with their players

Everything that we observed the Aztecas coaches and players doing the last three days was rooted in the principles stated in these two posters.

The work schedule for the UDLAP program this week as school was in session was/is as follows:

Monday - Heavy weight room day and meetings

Tuesday - Two hour practice and meetings

Wednesday - Two hour practice and meetings

Thursday - Quick, intense weight room day and meetings

Friday - Walk through practice

Saturday - Scrimmage in Mexico City with the Politechnico Universidad Burros Blancos

We'll be at the scrimmage on Saturday to be sure to root on the Aztecas.

 An intense work out

The Weight Room session today was done in three groups with each group being closely observed by the coaches. The three different starting times insured high intensity and little standing around.

There were eight, five minute periods in the 40 minute weight room session followed by a ten minute stretch period outside while the next group started their intense workout. Only two players to a bar, so there was little rest time and maximum intense effort.

This workout was all about high intensity pace which is exactly the way the Aztecas want to practice and play.

 The first two periods were
dedicated to Cleans

The Aztecas 3-5-3 Defensive
Philosophy in a nutshell

More Cleans

Here are some videos of the Aztecas' Group One workout:


Squats and Push Press

Back and Hamstring Strength

Squats and Medicine Ball

We said our final goodbyes and greatly appreciated thank yous to the coaches who could not have been more open and helpful to us.

The trip to Cholula to visit the UDLAP Aztecas program was amazingly good on all levels for the six of us.

There was only one thing for us to do now . . .

Find another GREAT place to eat
on the "Avenida del Pecado"

We were joined by Azteca DB/Special
Teams coach Remy Palacios, his girlfriend
and her nephew at the far end of the table

Remy was our official host for the last few days as he is a longtime friend of Jesús Sánchez. Remy played football for the UNAM Pumas back in the day with Jesús' brother.

We could not be more grateful for the hospitality that he and everyone associated with the Aztecas program showed us all.

The two hour drive back in the rolling sardine can that was our rented Dodge mini-van was smooth until we got to Mexico City where we were hit by an intense tropical down pour that included periods of hale and lots of thunder.

Thus the usual Mexico City traffic jams became even thicker and slower.

Near the Hertz rental agency on the way to returning our mini-van, we drove through an area of the capital city called Contreras.

Needless to say, I liked it and the Contreras mural that we drove past seen in the following video.

Contreras Neighborhood
and Family Pride

Our time in Mexico is quickly coming to an end.

On Friday we will be conducting clinics for the coaches at Mexico City's Heroic Military Academy, home of the Aguiluchos.

Saturday we'll watch the Aztecas vs. Burros Blancos scrimmage.

Sunday we'll meet with Coach Raúl Rivera Sánchez, the President of Mexico's National American Football Federation.

Finally, Monday evening I'll head home to beautiful Camarillo, California to be with my bride.

It has all been good up to now but I'm yearning to get home.

Again, GRACIAS Aztecas coaches for a great three days!

Pray for Spain

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Exploring Cholula and an EXCELLENT UDLAP Aztecas Practice

Wednesday, August 16, 2017:

was up early, so I headed out the door before any other members of our entourage had awakened to explore the quaint city of Cholula.

Parroquia de San Pedro
in the early morning

Day of the Dead

Are you looking at me?

Small temple in the nearby
Zona Arqueológica

Sunrise over . . .

. . . which is a suburb of . . .

Above these two colorful signs
is the Santuario de Nuestra
Señora de los Remedios

Two volcanoes in the distance
one on the left and one on the right

Nice mural

Frida Kahlo's home

I'd eat here if it was open

Laurie, we need to repaint
the front of our house

Aztec influence

Of course Cholla, Mexico has
a Pakistani Art shop

Cholla is colorful

Mexican Sweets!

This shop was still closed when I walked by in the early morning.

Mini-shrine to the
Virgin of Guadalupe

Don't know who this is
but it was on the Zocalo near
our hotel

Our hotel was on the far right
of this arcade

Benito Juarez
Hero of the Revolution

Parroquia de San Pedro again

I just liked this gnarly tree stump
in the Zocalo

Emiliano Zapata
Hero of the Revolution

Templo de San Gabriel
I think

Nice entryway

Of course there were goats
walking down the sidewalk

Somewhat active volcano
behind our hotel

Big book in the Zocalo

I just liked it

Climbing up the world's second
largest pyramid trailing
only one of the pyramids in Egypt

The Tepanapa Pyramid looks more like a shrub covered hill than a pyramid as it has been badly neglected for years.

It is the widest pyramid ever built in the world.

The church that sits atop
the Tepanapa Pyramid that
we saw earlier in this post

View out of the front door of
the same church

The Gang of Four that made it to
the top of the Tepanapa Pyramid

L. to R.: Bart Iaccarino, George Contreras, Mike Wood and Joey Fuentes

The Gang of Four with Cholula
in the background

Mike and Joey also climbed to the top of Teotihuacán's Temple of the Sun last Sunday.

From here, it was on to the Universidad De Las Americas Puebla (UDLAP) to observe their practice.

Home of the Aztecas

The Aztecas have played in the last four Mexican Collegiate National Championship games and won three of them including the 2016 title.

In 2016 UDLAP went 13-0 but did lose an exhibition game 49-25 on the road in November to the FCS Pioneer League Champion University of San Diego Toreros who went 10-2 in 2016.

Campeones de Mexico

Cool Aztecas helmets side view

Front view

Are those stands OSHA approved

I shadowed UDLAP
Offensive Line Coach
Oscar Sánchez

He is a GREAT teacher as are all of the Aztecas coaches from what we all saw today.

Coach Sánchez had seven
players today

One-on-one pass sets

Stare Down?

Good work on the sled

Coach Sánchez was joined by the
RBs and their coach
Brian Quirino de Guzmán

Combo blocks

Getting inside leverage

Combo blocks again

Scrimmage time

After practice with the Aztecas'
massive and excellent LT
#51 Diego Bedroll, 6'6" and 285 lbs.

Here are some videos from today's Offensive Line drills.

Pass Sets

Leverage Drill

Combo Blocks

Diego Bedroll working against
a Bull Rusher

RT missed his block

After the well organized practice, we needed to eat a late lunch. DB Coach Remy Palacios once again led us to victory to cement his title as Mexico's #1 Assistant Football Coach in our opinion.

Cool beer sign

This was Coach Palacios choice

One of the three kilos of carnitas
that we ordered to share
between the seven of us

We were so stuffed that we passed on dinner tonight.

Now THAT'S amazing!

After lunch, we attended the
UDLAP staff meetings

Jesús, Joey and I sat in on this offensive meeting while Mike, Ricardo and Bart went to the Dark Side's get together.

UDLAP Aztecas American football is EXCELLENT! 

Being alive was a good thing today.