GRAYLING — Football season may be more than two months away, but with help from the NFL and the National Guard, nearly 300 players and 30 coaches from northern Michigan have put their attention to the gridiron this week.
The large group has been assembled at Camp Grayling for a three-day High School Players Development Camp.
Traverse City West, Traverse City Central, Benzie Central, Kingsley, Suttons Bay, Cheboygan, Grayling and Gaylord are represented at the camp, which is a free event that is focused on skill development as well as things like concussion awareness, NCAA guidelines, leadership and time management.
“It’s all skills. Very, very little team stuff. Very, very little plays and schemes from our team standpoint. It’s all just basic fundamentals, which is kind of nice,” said TC West head coach Tim Wooer. “I know we’ve gotten a lot better in just the first eight hours we’ve been here just because it’s been all fundamentals; no plays. (They’re) just trying to get better as football players. I know sometimes as a coach you’re so anxious to implement your schemes and your package you forget about the importance of basic fundamentals so it’s been really good for our kids. It’s the perfect kickoff to our summer because it lets us get all our fundamentals taken care of and then we can worry about what Traverse City wants to do offensively and defensively.”
The camp started with a check-in on Monday, then featured multiple sessions on Tuesday and Wednesday. It wraps up today.
To participate in the camp, coaches have had to follow specific practice guidelines set forth by the NFL. Coaches received DVDs with the drills the league wants it to follow and a practice plan, and players were given jerseys to wear during the sessions. Coaches also received gear from the league.