Coaching the future

Published 10:56 pm Friday, May 28, 2010

Football is a sport that requires its players to be knowledgeable both on the field and off.

Now, kids of all ages will be able to obtain that knowledge as well as the skills needed to perform well, thanks to one of the most successful coaches in college football.

For the first time ever, Troy University football head coach Larry Blakeney and his entire staff will be coaching three different camps at Veterans Memorial Stadium this summer.

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“We are all looking forward to it,” Blakeney said. “It’s always a lot of fun to be out there with the kids and teaching them about the game.”

There will be a youth camp, a college prep camp and a system camp between June 17 and July 23.

The youth camps originally began in Dothan almost five years ago, but Blakeney said it was time for the camps to be brought up to Troy.

In that camp, anyone from first grade up to eighth grade can participate.

“We teach them a variety of things that will help them learn the game,” the coach said.

“There is a running program, a position programs and some ball drills during each session.”

The coach said the running programs would teach the kids the proper way to run with foot placement, knee placement and form, while the kids would learn how to tackle currently during the position drills as well as learn how to throw and catch properly.

In the college prep camps, anyone who is in high school and could be considered for recruiting is welcome.

“This is a good time for players to learn what it is they have to do to make it to the next level,” Blakeney said. “We talk to them about what is required of them on the field and also talk to them about what is required out of them in classroom.”

The participants in the camp also get to go through the different test that players looking to go into the NFL have to do.

“It’s good way to show them where they are, and what they need to improve upon,” the coach said.

It’s also a good way for coaches to evaluate players.

“It gives us a chance to really look at each kid while giving them some good exposure,” Blakeney said.

“There are a bunch of guys that have made our teams that went to camps like this.

“Camps like this really do help a player who wants to play at the next level,” he added.

The system camps allow entire teams, and their coaches, to work on offensive plays in preparation for the upcoming season.

Each session lasts two and a half days, and by the end, the teams are vastly improved, according to Blakeney.

“It gives an offense time to learn plays and execute them,” he said.