About two dozen Toledo players took advantage of the opportunity to tour the Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama plant just south of Montgomery on Wednesday morning, a few hours before their first practice in the Capital City for Saturday’s Camellia Bowl.
“I really didn’t know what to expect,” said sophomore quarterback Jalen Reese. “I’ve never been in a car plant like this, but it’s real big. Everyone has to work as one to get a common goal done. It kind of reminds me a lot of football.”
Reese, a sophomore from Mansfield, Ohio, said his uncles John Reese and Carl Reese work in automobile manufacturing plants so he wanted to take advantage of the early morning tour, which was optional for both Toledo and Appalachian State players.
“A couple of my uncles work on cars in a plant like this, so I wanted to come to see what they might be doing,” Reese said. “It’s real interesting. It makes me appreciate their work a lot more because it really is an art. It takes a lot of time and effort and work to do the little things on cars.”
The $1.7 billon facility employs more than 3,000 people building Sonata and Elantra sedans. While high school players in the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Game make the annual trek to the Hyundai plant, this is the first time it has been included on the Camellia Bowl list of activities.
“It’s great for us to be able to host these teams,” said Robert Burns, head of public relations for Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama. “Certainly, with the Toledo team coming in today, it allows us to show what Montgomery has to offer, not only in the form of jobs but how we improve the quality of life with Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama.
“It’s an opportunity to kind of let us get to know people from across the country, so that’s what we like about being able to bring in groups like this. And to support the Camellia Bowl, too. That’s what we want to do, make it a wonderful experience for the players and the coaches and anyone who comes down for the event.”
PICKUP BASKETBALL GAMES
The friendship between Appalachian State head coach Scott Satterfield and Toledo head coach Jason Candle has been well documented since the two teams were paired for the third annual Camellia Bowl.
They were on the same staff together at Toledo in 2009, along with current Iowa State head coach Matt Campbell. All three worked for first-year coach Tim Beckham. Satterfield and Campbell were co-offensive coordinators while Candle was the receivers coach.
The two also locked up in some pretty intense pickup basketball games, too.
“We had some spirited noon basketball games when he was at Toledo,” Candle said. “That was always fun to compete. He is a competitor and he will have his team ready to play.”
Despite being on staff together one season, Satterfield remembers a pickup game between his ASU staff and the Toledo staff when he took his offensive staff to Toledo for a football retreat.
I took my offensive staff up to Toledo, this was several years ago, against Matt (Campbell) and Jason,” Satterfield recalled. “We were there but we did not have any workout gear, so we had to wear Toledo clothes and then we beat them in their own gym in a pickup basketball game. That was pretty fun then we came on back to Boone.”
Satterfield chuckled as he described his role on the court.
“I am more of swing man,” he said. “I do all the dirty work.
SATTERFIELD-CANDLE BOWL II
The Camellia Bowl will not be the first time Satterfield and Candle have met in the post season.
The first meeting came in the 2010 Little Caesars Pizza Bowl when FIU defeated Toledo 34-32 on Dec. 26 at Ford Field in Detroit. Satterfield was an assistant coach at FIU and Candle was an assistant at Toledo.
The Rockets jumped out to 14-0 lead behind the running of Adonis Thomas. Thomas finished with 193 rushing yards and two touchdowns.
FIU did not take it first lead until the fourth quarter when Wesley Carroll threw a 10-yard pass to T.Y. Hilton to put the Panthers up 28-24 with 7:34 left in the game. Jack Griffin’s 31-yard field goal extended FIU’s lead to 31-24 with 3:54 left in the game.
Toledo answered with Terrance Owens’ 14-yard run with 1:14 left in the game. Owens then completed a 2-pont pass to Eric Page to put the Rockets up 32-31.
FIU quickly moved down the field and Griffin nailed a 34-yard field goal as time expired for the 34-32 win over Toledo.
THURSDAY SCHEUDLE OF EVENTS
Both teams will visit the Rosa Parks Library and Museum on Thursday morning. Appalachian State will be on sire from 9-10 a.m., while Toledo will visit from 10-11 a.m.
Toledo will practice at Huntingdon College from 2:55-3:40 p.m. on Thursday. Appalachian State is scheduled to practice at Alabama State University from 3-4 p.m.
The Montgomery Convention and Visitor’s Bureau will host Appalachian State for a barbecue dinner at the Union State Train Shed, while Toledo will have Zaxby’s dinner in the Alley Station. Both events run from 5:30-7:30 p.m.