Sunday, July 22, 2012

Cincinnati "Friday Night Lights"

Last Friday, I attended the UC "Friday Night Lights." A number of campers numbered over 300 and actually caught UC off guard. But UC personnel did a great job of making everything work well. Most of the surprise came from the high number of "walkups." As I said, everything went really well.

This camp did not as much testing, but did more individualized instruction. By the this time of the summer, more emphasis should be put on evaluating drills and movement, rather than combine testing. UC did just that.

One day camps are good in the middle of July. For the BCS schools, I would try to get as many of the Class of 2014 as I could get. Also if I am still recruiting out of state players in the Class of 2013, I would really make an effort to get them to this camp. Not only so that I could evaluate them again, but also to get them on campus.

Years ago, when Jim Tressel was the head coach at Youngstown State, I visited one of his practices during August. At that time, I was actually awed at the facilities at YSU. At that time, I realized that one of the major objectives of any college with excellent facilities is to get players on campus. If the facilities are just okay, I would be hesitant. My point is that players have to visit the UC Bearcats football facilities.

The football facilities at the University of Cincnnati are outstanding. The weight room is large and very well equipped. A place to run 40's is in the weight room, not outside of the strength training facility. The players' locker room is continually improving and the lockers themselves have all kinds of storage. Also, really liked the players lounge. The halls are lined with pictures of former players now in the NFL.

I liked the both the snack food and the sports nutrition areas. Listening to some of the presentations, the medical staff really emphasizes taking care of the body. The building itself is beautiful inside. Lots of glass.

Of course, Ohio State University has some of the best facilities in the country. The University of Cincinnati sometimes gets overlooked as a BCS school in Ohio. Mark Dantonio laid the ground work. Mike Kelly continued to improve the program and facilities. Now Butch Jones has continued to do the same. (For my two cents, I consider all three excellent coaches.) As I said earlier, UC has to continue to get kids on campus. Parents and prospects have to make it a point to visit the Bearcats facilities.

A rule that I follow is to not report what players I see at a camp, nor do I send out an evaluation on them. It is hard to be a guest and then give out information. Of course, I store away the information in my memory bank. I will say this, there were some really top prospects both in state and out of state in attendance. One prospect and his mother rode the Greyhound bus for eight hours to attend this camp. Honest to goodness, they did.

The Bearcat coaches and support staff did an excellent job in making the camp successful. I would have expected none the less. But what I did not expect was the quality of the football facilites, including the practice areas. Stadium seating is limited when comparing BCS schools, but there is not a bad seat in the house.  Get on campus.

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