Monday, June 28, 2010

Chambers/Evans Football Camp

Last Saturday, I made my annual trip to Bedford High School to evaluate campers at the Chambers/Evans Football Camp. The day was one of the best spent camp days this summer. Over 200 campers with most coming from the city showed their skills and competed.

Have known both Chris Chambers and Lee Evans since their high school days at Bedford High School. Yes, both went on to successful careers at Wisconsin. Now both are enjoying successful careers on the pro level. Lee at Buffalo and Chris at Kansas City. Both are so "grounded," and so helpful to the campers, but that is what I expected to see from them.

Campers did all kinds of football related drills in the morning. Late morning they went to position drills. For me, this was a good time. Not only did I get to see kids compete in drills, but I also could evaluate skill levels. Prospects from 9-12 grades participated. At this time of year I concentrate on underclassmen.

In the afternoon schools competed in 7on7 contests. And compete they did. Only once did I see maybe a little too much energy. That was quickly defused. Really that was just a firecracker. Campers played hard and competed.

Through Chambers' 84 Foundation each camper was given a shirt/short combo. Impressive! Really believe that helped prospects pump out their chests and show uniformity. For the record, the cloth was of hgigh quality. The whole atmosphere was first class. From Chris and Lee, down to the ladies who helped with lunch. Chris would be the first to admit that without the competent directors. instructors, and camp help, Lee and he would not be able to pull it off.

In conjunction with Key Bank, the foundation awarded two scholarships, each valued at $1,500. These were awarded after the camp picture.

Shaker Heights, Central Catholic, John Adams, East Tech, and Westlake were in one division. Richmond Hts, Lincoln West, St Joe's, Coliinwood, and Shaw were in the other division.

I always appreciate the invitation to come to the camp. Of course, evaluating talent is what I do, but just being able to witness first hand the growth of the camp, makes it all worthwhile. Although both Lee and Chris are not in my income bracket(LOL), they have not let fame and fortune turn their back on their roots.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Power Ball, L-cone, Pro-shuttle

Football combines are gradually becoming accepted as a small part of the evaluation process for potential college football recruits. MSR held two this past spring and the positives far out-weighed the negatives. We put much time in the "how-to-do" part of the testing.

Power ball throw is beginning to replace the bench press. Since many high school programs put alot of emphasis on the bench press, the power ball is new. MSR used it, and I am happy to say OSU used it today in their testing. Personally I like it. Much safer. Much less time. Short arm and long armed bench presser are equal. An 8 pound ball costs just 25 dollars. Good investment.

L-cone drill was a test today. MSR used it, but it really takes an understanding on how to perform it. Emphasis on hip turns, burst, and balance. Get three cones and practice.

Pro-shuttle(20 yards) is a must in combine testing. Be sure to touch the lines. Emphasis is on much the same as L-cone.

The simple standing long jump measures explosion. Be sure to keep your heels on the floor once that you have stuck. Love this very basic test.

I feel good that MSR spent time on teaching these test at both of our camps. The biggest problem with combines is who runs them and how they are run. Too much marketing. Too many needless awards. Had a parent two days ago mention three times in the conversation - when I would have the rankings out for my camp. The fourth time, I said, "We do not rank kids." We just teach the same skills that O-Sate tests.

Combines done the right way and for the right reasons are good. And you know McCallister wants it done the right way.

Senior Days

The college football camps have begun. The next two weeks are really filled with football camps. With recruiting getting earlier and earlier and evaluations beginning earlier and earlier, getting to a camp is almost a must.

Attended the Ball State camp last Friday. Roughly 612 campers showed their stuff. Coaches worked the kids hard during agility drills. Spent time with instruction. Did on on one drills. Even had time for seven on seven. Long hot day. Coach Stan Parrish uses this camp to bring in many of Ohio's best. Coach Ted Ginn makes his only bus tour this year to come to Ball State. I like this camp, because prospects play both defense and offense. Unless you know who you are looking for, there are almost too many campers. For me, I like to find prospects and this is sometimes difficult.

Just watched campers at O-State's first one day senior camp. Around 450 at this first session. O-State does much the same, but they put each camper through the same stations. For me, I can stand at one station and watch every prospect come through. I also take a second to speak with the guys in whom I am interested.

I do not discuss with coaches, or, obviously the media, any evaluations that I have made. If schools are good enough to let me visit, what happens at the camp stays at the camp. Toledo, Bowling Green, Akron, Cicninnati are all on the schedule. Plus making two more trips back to O-State.

If you have any camp questions, email me. Camping is almost a must. However, one day is enough. Colleges need to see you. And just as important, a prospect needs to see them.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Class of 2012 Camp/Combine/Compete

Last Sunday, as many know, MSR held the first underclassmen camp/combine for the classes of 2012 and 2013. Turnout was really good, but, of course, I would have liked to have every prospect in the Class of 2012 compete. For a number of reasons- graduation of brothers and sisters, college one days at BGSU, Toledo, and Ohio, OHSAA State Track Meet on Saturday- some football prospects could not attend. Also missing at times was the word compete. The longer I do this scouting, the more important the word COMPETE has become in my vocabulary.

"Compete" has always been a part of my life. Lost my father at age 7. Raised on a limited income. Only starting 10 year old on a 11/12 year old little league team. My 8th grade football coach told me that I had "excellent football skills," but very average desire. Made all conference my senior year, after missing my junior year. Named a head football coach at 24(probably because I taught English). Although the "old school" guy has mellowed some, he still loves to "compete."

One of the few positives about football combines is that it allows kids to compete. Compete against each other and against the stopwatch. For MSR combines: No "Elite" or "National " ranking. No "feel good" times. No national awards. No 37 yard - 40's. No Nike trade name. Simply a chance to learn and compete.

Sometimes I feel that we are losing our desire to compete. Of course, not every football prospect is losing it, but the list is getting longer. When you go to a combine or camp, you must compete against the best. Bust your butt. Be first in line. Sweat. Challenge. Run through the drill. Touch the lines. Make no excuses. When you do any drill at the college "one day," make the college coaches take notice. Trust me they will talk about you in their evaluation meetings. I sit in on those meetings. The ability to compete separates equal talent for sure.

End of sermon. What a football player does on friday nights is still the most important evaluation tool. But COMPETING at camps/combines is a very important part of the evaluation process.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Desire to Learn

A refreshing email this morning.

As many know I have a combination football camp/combine for the Class of 2012 tomorrow in Dublin. A number of the prospects whom I like in the Class of 2012 have been invited. This morning I received an email from a young man from the Dayton area. He wanted to know, even though he was injured, if he could still come to the camp.

This week he was doing some strength training and a 45 pound weight fell on his index finger and smashed it. 55 stitches (under his finger nail) later, the doctor said no exercise from 4-6 weeks. That is 55 stitches under his finger nail, and they had to sew it back on. This young prospect apologized for not being able to participate and wanted to know if he could still come and watch.

Sometimes we hear just the negative about kids. Sometimes we just want the negative. Here is a young football prospect with a smashed finger willing to ride 60 minutes to watch a football camp/combine. To me that speaks volumes for this young man.

Now the pressure is on me. I hope that he is not let down.