MONTGOMERY – One of the highlights of TaxAct Camellia Bowl week is the history lesson the two teams get when they arrive in town.
Georgia State and Ball State learned a valuable piece of history when they visited the Rosa Parks Museum on Wednesday afternoon.
“It’s exciting to have the opportunity to see history,” Ball State head coach Mike Neu said. “To me that’s one of the coolest experiences you can have during bowl festivities and taking advantage of the city that you’re in to learn as much as you possibly can. I know all of our guys are excited about that.
Rosa Louise McCauley Parks was an African-American activist in the civil rights movement best known for her pivotal role in the Montgomery bus boycott. The United States Congress has honored her as “the first lady of civil rights” and “the mother of the freedom movement.”
“I think anytime you can educate your football team and take them to see significant events that have happened in our history to learn, especially going to the Rosa Parks Museum,” Georgia State head coach Shawn Elliott said. “I hope we took it all in and really looked, when I say looked, witness what we saw. That means they will remember if for the rest of their lives.”
Teams Hit Practice Field for First Time
Georgia State and Ball State hit the practice field for the first time since arriving in Montgomery. The Panthers worked out at Huntingdon College, while Ball State held its practice at Alabama State University.
Both teams took a different approach to Wednesday’s practice.
Georgia State worked for two hours full pads, not deviating from its normal weekly schedule.
“Everything is pretty consistent with us; nothing changes during the course of the year” Elliott said. “Our Wednesday’s are in full pads and we go out there and push it for about two hours and work. We don’t overwork this time of the year, but we understand what we need to get accomplished. Our guys are all in tune and engaged and that what it’s all about this time of the year. It’s an exciting time.”
Ball State worked in helmets and shoulder pads for about 90 minutes.
“A little bit of an adjustment,” Neu said. “We traveled (Tuesday) and wanted to make sure we got some good work on the field individual-wise, but we wanted to clean some things up. We get used to our surroundings and make sure we had some time to walk through this afternoon. We have a good plan. I like where the guys mindset wise.”
Both teams will hold practice again on Thursday and are expected to have walk-thru at the Cramton Bowl on Christmas Eve.
Graduation, TaxAct Camellia Bowl and Wedding Bells
Georgia State senior tight end Aubrey Payne is in the midst of the busiest, but most exciting, three weeks of his life. Last week, Payne received his bachelor’s degree in sociology from GSU.
On Saturday, he will be playing in his third straight bowl game as the Panthers face Ball State in the TaxAct Camellia Bowl at the Cramton Bowl on Christmas afternoon.
Then next week, Payne and his fiancé, Mallory Oliver, will cap a busy three weeks by getting married in Trenton, Ga.
“It’s definitely been an experience,” Payne said. “It’s been something that has been every day, with something to do, especially with school and football. It’s been fun and a great experience. I just graduated last week. I am playing in my last bowl game on Christmas Day and getting married on New Year’s weekend.”
Oh and the honeymoon is in Cancun.