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Shannon, TSU, to hold passing camp

Sports Editor

Although Troy State’s summer football camp has been around for years, TSU assistant coach John Shannon has added a two-day 7-on-7 team passing camp this season to start on Saturday, June 1.

Shannon is entering his second season as offensive coordinator for the Trojans after spending six years at Jackson State University. But it was three years spent at the University of Pacific in California (1989-91) that brought the idea of 7-on-7 football to Shannon’s attention.

"This is something that’s been going on awhile," said Shannon. "It was real big when I was in California and I ran it out there. It’s just grown over the last 10 or 12 years."

Shannon equates the idea of the 7-on-7 passing camp to an average "backyard football game," but said there’s much more involved as far as instruction goes.

"Being that this is a clinic we do have sessions scattered throughout the two-day period where our coaches will be on hand to offer instruction, such as learning how to run routes and working against different coverages or making people miss on tackles," he said.

The camp is open to players age 14 and up, but closed to any graduating high school senior or player who has begun taking classes for his senior year of high school. Each team is limited to 20 players with all teams guaranteed a minimum of 10 games (five on each day). Players are required to bring: mouth pieces, T-shirts, shorts, athletic supporters, white socks, football cleats, tennis shoes as well as helmets and chin straps.

Although the games are non-contact, Shannon said certain safety equipment is still required.

"Players have to have helmets because of safety reasons, but other then that it’s like a fun, touch football game or ‘basketball on grass’, however you want to refer to it," he said.

All teams are required to register at the Troy State University football fields between the hours of 7 a.m. and 9 a.m. on June 1. Trojans’ head coach Larry Blakeney will be on hand to welcome the camp participants with games to start at 10 a.m.

Sunday’s schedule begins with a coaches meeting and clinic. Games begin at 9 a.m. with the final contest scheduled for 4:30 p.m. Closing ceremonies is at 5:15 p.m.

Shannon has been involved with offense for 17 of his 24 years in coaching. His 1991 Pacific offense led the nation in touchdown passes (42), was second in total offense (511 ypg) and third in passing offense (343 ypg). His offensive knowledge took him to Maryland (1992-93) and on to Jackson State where he was named the Division 1-AA Offensive Coordinator of the Year in 2000 as the Tigers finished third in the nation in total offense.

Shannon brought the ‘Trojan Spread’, a four-wide receiver, one-back set to Troy State last season and the Trojans finished with a 7-4 record in their first season of Division I-A football.