Camping out with Peyton and Eli
If a football player wants to improve, who better to get instruction from than Peyton and Eli Manning?That was the thinking behind Roaring Fork head football coach Mike Brinson’s decision to take eight of his players to the Manning Passing Academy at Nicholls State University in Thibodaux, La., earlier this month.”It was the second year of going to that camp and it was really good,” Brinson said. “It is one of the best camps in the country.”
The camp – which focuses solely on quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers and tight ends – covered fundamental skills of each position. Dozens of pro football players and coaches besides the Mannings assisted with the camp, including Jake Delhomme, Brandon Stokely, Marvin Harrison, Phil Simms, Kelley Holcomb, Cris Carter and Phillip Rivers, to name a few. College coaches and players from across the nation were also on hand.”It was fun because between drills we just got to hang out with (the pro and collegiate stars) and talk to them like they were normal guys,” said Trevor Hunt, who will be a senior running back for the Rams in the fall. “It was really cool.”Ram quarterbacks Kade Gianinetti and Jake Kinney underwent instruction on arm movement, weight distribution, footwork, the proper mechanics of the three and five-step drop, reading keys in the defensive coverage and making the right decisions.
“This year they really focused on footwork for quarterbacks,” said Gianinetti, who will be a senior this year. “If I can get that down, everything should flow better this season.”Hunt, who worked through drills with fellow Ram running backs Micah Amborn and Jeremy Fietze, said the backfield players worked on handling the ball and running pass routes.”It helped a lot last year,” said Hunt, who attended the camp in 2005 with Gianinetti and his brother Tyler. “It steps up your game and you learn how to go against defenses and it makes you see everything more clearly.”
Roaring Fork wide receiver Dietrich Minor and tight ends Tyler Hunt and Ryan Weimer also participated in the academy, running routes and finding success through repetition. “The kids came home with great self confidence,” Brinson said. “Some of these players had never caught so many passes in a four-day period in their life.”Competing with and against hundreds of other prep athletes, Gianinetti said he learned a lot about how he measures up to other football players.”It was kind of a reality check and you see how many athletes there are outside of Carbondale,” he said. “It makes you see you are not the biggest fish in the sea and there are a lot of athletes out there who are just as good as you.”
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