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Football in june

High school football players in town for the Bowden football camp enjoyed their first full day of workouts Thursday at the Troy State practice field.

The passing and receiving camp brought more than 150 players to the campus of Troy State, and the campers worked in the hot weather before a unique assembly of coaches.

"There's not many camps with this many head coaches hanging around," Florida State head coach and family patriarch Bobby Bowden said. "Most camps, the head coach puts his name on it and the assistants run it."

The Bowden camp has two current head coaches directly involved and one former head man involved. Tommy Bowden, the head coach at Clemson, works with the receivers and former Auburn head coach Terry Bowden works with quarterbacks.

"We all work according to our specialty," Terry Bowden said. "My brother Tommy and my brother Jeff work with receivers because that's their specialty. I was a quarterback, so I work with the quarterbacks.

"Dad's role is as the patriarch. He just sits on the golf cart and oversees us. We don't want him to work too hard because he's old and feeble."

Bobby Bowden chuckled at Terry's tongue-in-cheek joke, but he said he was not too old for the camp.

"I've been retired to the cart," Bobby Bowden said. "But I love watching these kids out here, learning about football. You never get too old for that."

The Bowdens know plenty about passing the football. Some people may say they invented it, but although that may be an exaggeration, Bobby Bowden was one of the first coaches to use the pass as his preferred way of moving the ball.

The game has changed plenty since Bobby Bowden was playing.

"I went to the same high school as Harry Gilmer, but he was four years older than me," Bobby Bowden said. "He was one of the greatest quarterbacks in Alabama history, and he gained notoriety in the Sugar Bowl. You know what he threw for in that game? He was 8-for-8. Can you imagine that happening today?"

The camp has been going on in Troy for the last several years, and all the Bowdens said the location would likely not change any time soon.

"Troy is centrally located to all the surrounding areas," Bobby Bowden said. "It is close to Florida, Alabama, Mississippi and Georgia who all have players here."

Terry Bowden said there might be another reason for the camp.

"My dad grew up in Birmingham and still visits two weeks a year," Terry Bowden said. "Troy is on the way to Panama City, so the location is perfect."

The camp will continue today and will end Saturday.