Austrian Coaches' Camp Blog

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Part 3: Thanks for the memories!

Markus Krause and Robert Balazinec just won the Eurobowl with The Oakland Raiders' marketing teammate SWARCO Raiders of the Austrian Football League. Both spent a week participating in The Oakland Raiders' 2009 Training Camp as part of the International Guest Coach Program. Krause and Balazinec also serve as assistant coaches for the SWARCO Raiders youth programs. You can read about their experiences right here on Raiders.com in English and German.

Special to Raiders.com

After an exciting week full of lasting memories, great experiences and finding many new friends, The Oakland Raiders had one more highlight for us on the schedule – the preseason opener against the Dallas Cowboys. America's Team on the road versus the World's Team. After all we learned about The Oakland Raiders and their global approach – especially during the International Guest Coach Program – we feel that this is the proper name for the Silver and Black.

And the World's Team opened yet another world for us when we arrived at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. We had an all-area pass and used the time before kickoff to check out the whole stadium. We walked up and down the stadium and took millions of pictures.

Blitzy: It has to be said that everywhere we go someone falls for Markus. And it was no different in the Coliseum. Someone called him her "sugar baby." Seems like Markus becomes the second major celebrity from Austria in California…

When it was finally game time, we were ready to take the field with all the players and coaches that treated us so good over the last days. Not only because we are players ourselves, but also because we felt like we are a part of the Raiders family.

The Raider Nation went crazy when the Silver and Black entered the field. We were blown away by the speed and intensity of the action. The hitting was ferocious, but you could tell players were actually enjoying it after all those practice sessions.

The atmosphere was awesome. The crowd noise was deafening. Putting 31 points on the scoreboard against a team like Dallas was huge and we believe it was only a glimpse of things to come this year. This team has such a great chemistry. We're pretty sure they will make the Raider Nation proud this season.

After the convincing win we said goodbye to players and coaches. We met Head Coach Tom Cable outside the Coliseum and thanked him for all his support. We want to use this opportunity to thank all the people who made this journey so special; everyone at the Raiders front office, all coaches, players and staff members. We also want to thank our SWARCO Raiders head coach Santos Carrillo for sending us over.

But before we will fly back home to implement everything we've learned during training camp, we will enjoy a few more days in the Bay Area. After all we feel pretty much home out here.

Servus,
Yours Markus and Blitzy!


Part 2: What a ride!

Markus Krause and Robert Balazinec just won the Eurobowl with The Oakland Raiders' marketing teammate SWARCO Raiders of the Austrian Football League. Both are participating in The Oakland Raiders' 2009 Training Camp as part of the International Guest Coach Program. Krause and Balazinec also serve as assistant coaches for the SWARCO Raiders youth programs. You can read about their experiences right here on Raiders.com in English and German.

Special to Raiders.com

The Cowboys are not even here, yet, and we can already say "What a ride!" This camp experience is simply awesome. If you check out pictures from camp and see two guys in the background staring at the action, eyes and mouth wide open as if they've just seen little green creatures land with their spaceship on the practice field – that's us!

We feel like home here. We are allowed to be on the practice field with the coaches and players. We can ask questions, we interact and we get a great idea of what the NFL is like. There's a million drills we can take over to Austria and implement in our practice routine – specially for our youth teams.

Being on the field also brings you closer to the players. Michael Huff, Sebastian Janikowski, Shane Lechler, John Bowie, Sam Williams, Nnamdi Asomugha. You name them. Everyone is very friendly, polite and absoluetly interested in our story. The words "You're the guys from Austria. Congrats on winning the Eurobowl" are very common around here these days. What more can you ask for?

Blitzy: Actually I did ask for more. I asked Shane Lechler if he could teach me a thing or two about punting. The moment I finished my question he sayed yes. So he gave me a little extra practice session yesterday afternoon. This will really help us overseas.

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The players are always in a good mood and sometimes it's just a big kindergarden. Good to know that some things are the same everywhere – no matter at which level you're playing football. We chatted a lot with Mike Mitchell and John Bowie. Sebastian Janikowski is also a very nice guy.

Blitzy: He played soccer before he switched to football. Just like me. Although that's where the similarities end. His upper arms are as big as my thighs. And where my distance on kicks ends, he just starts to warm up.

You can tell the team is ready to go out and hit. They can't hardly wait for the Cowboys to come to town. Thursday's gonna be a big day and we're all looking forward to it. Standing on the sidelines will be an unbelievable experience. The crowd, the noise, the atmosphere. Even we are ready for some football!

Servus,
Yours Markus and Blitzy!


Part 1: A Warm Welcome

Markus Krause and Robert Balazinec just won the Eurobowl with The Oakland Raiders' marketing teammate SWARCO Raiders of the Austrian Football League. Both are participating in The Oakland Raiders' 2009 Training Camp as part of the International Guest Coach Program. Krause and Balazinec also serve as assistant coaches for the SWARCO Raiders youth programs. You can read about their experiences right here on Raiders.com in English and German.

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Special to Raiders.com*

What a journey! After 29 hours on the road (and in the air) we arrived in Oakland on Wednesday night. And to finally be in the hotel The Oakland Raiders players stay before their home games made us forget about a stressful ride across the big pond. OK, almost. But let's cut it short. We had some trouble finding our flight back in Frankfurt, Germany. Then we almost missed out connection flight in Philadelphia and on arrival in San Francisco our luggage was missing. And have we mentioned the one-hour wait for our midnight pizza?

Anyway, after a short night we were anxious to meet with the other international guest coaches at the Raiders office in Alameda, CA. Later we were brought up to Napa Valley in style.

Markus: I thought we were going to Hollywood. I mean they arranged for a huge limousine to bring us out to camp. What a way to ride!

Later we were able to check out the whole area and even got our big bag full of official Raiders gear. You wear it and immediately feel like you made it to the NFL. In the afternoon a very passionate Oakland Raiders squad showed up for our first practice. We watched from the sidelines and were blown away by the pure speed and intensity. The difference between pros and amateurs was easy to see.

Friday was kind of a day of meetings. But we met many interesting people. First we finally got to know special teams coordinator John Fassel. Coach Fassel is the best friend of our SWARCO Raiders head coach Santos Carrillo. Their friendship dates back to college and it's funny that both coaches now work for the biggest family in football: the Raiders family!

During afternoon practice Raiders Owner Al Davis watched his team train. It was exciting to see one of football's pioneers just a few feet away. But the meet and greet was not over, yet. We met a few Air Force airmen, who watched practice and when the intense full contact practice was over, head coach Tom Cable took the time to introduce himself to all six international coaches. We chatted a bit and after listening to all the pros and cons of our home countries he quickly decided on where he should travel to in the near future: Austria.

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Blitzy: Now isn't that a coincidence?!

On Saturday the "Who are you"-session went on as we were lucky enough to get introduced to Sebastian Janikowski. He is bigger than most of our linemen. A very polite and humble guy.

Blitzy: We kind of have the same background as we both grew up with soccer. I have to admit though that his leg is much stronger than mine…

Later that day the next big highlight of our trip was waiting for us: Raider Nation Celebration. Escorted by the California Highway Patrol we rode to the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum in five buses. When there's a traffic jam and you still just keep on rolling thanks to the police, you can't help but feel important.

At the stadium we followed the team into the locker room and later went together with the Silver and Black and all the coaches onto the field. The fans welcomed us with a vigorous reception. Standing on the sidelines just a few feet next to the action and just little farther away from the crowd gave us goose bumps. It was another exciting day. Hard to imagine that there's still so much more to come.

Servus,
Yours Markus and Blitzy

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