Coaches to introduce new plays at LHHS Football Camp
By Keith Sparks
On Monday, Panther Stadium will be full of the next generation of players for Liberty Hill Football Camp. Head Coach Jeff Walker is expecting more than 100 campers from the sixth through ninth grades to attend, depending on how many last-minute walk-ups arrive.
For those who have attended Walker’s football camps in the past, most of the camp will seem familiar. This year, however, Walker said he plans on getting a little bit more “advanced” with the plays he introduces on the offensive end.
“We’ll change it up here and there, but for the most part, we’re just trying to give them a glimpse of what it’s like,” Walker said. “Meet the coaches, throw the football around, but they’ll get a little different with offense – a few different plays that we’ve never run in the camp before. If they came last year, they ran X amount of plays. This year, we’ll run some different, more advanced plays with them, so we’re stepping it up a little bit.”
As far as the defense is concerned, Walker said this year will be more about establishing further familiarity with a defensive scheme that was only introduced two years ago.
“Defensively, we’ve only been running this defense for a few years, so it’ll be a lot of similar stuff, but we just want to get them more familiar with what we do defensively,” Walker said.
On Monday, Walker said they’ll start off with an introduction of the coaches, followed by the showing of some highlight film while the campers file in. Campers will also participate in a warmup, individual drills, team offense, and an introduction on how to huddle.
“We’ll meet that first day, and I introduce all the coaches, so they’ll get to know all the football coaches,” Walker said. “We may watch a little video – as some are straggling in, we’ll watch a highlight video or something. Then, we show them our warmup and do some drills. We’ll take the backs and linemen, and they’ll go do some drills, we’ll do some individual offensive stuff, then we’ll come together and do some team offense. We’ll teach them the huddle, how to break the huddle and run up there and walk through plays.”
After putting an emphasis on offense on Monday, the emphasis will switch to defense on Tuesday, where they’ll spend a little bit more time on the other side of the ball. Campers will also be tested on their 20-shuttle and 40-yard dash, which Walker said is fun to compare from one year to the next.
“We do test them,” Walker said. “We run our 20-shuttle and 40-yard dash. We don’t test them lifting, but I think it’s kind of neat when a sixth-grader will run the 40, then we’ll put it on a certificate, and when it comes to ninth grade, he can compare it to what’s on his wall from sixth grade.”
On Wednesday, coaches will introduce special teams to the occasion, giving every camper an opportunity to kick an extra point, punt, and return punts and kickoffs.
“On Wednesday, we’ll run some special teams where we’ll let them all kick an extra point, we’ll let them all punt, and we’ll let them all field those things,” Walker said. “We kind of show them the basics of that kind of stuff, so they’re familiar with all the special teams and what goes on with it.”
Following the introduction of special teams, it’s time for Panther Ball, which is a tournament-style competition that Walker runs every year at camp.
“We do Panther Ball, where we let them throw the ball around and we put them in teams, like a tournament kind of deal at the end,” Walker said. “On Wednesday, when we’re doing Panther Ball we’ll kind of stop everybody and let them watch the two best teams play. We’ll kind of make it a big deal.”
Walker said the goal is to keep the campers “extremely active” while making it a fun experience, so he expects each of them to be exhausted by day’s end.
“I pretty much break it down minute by minute, so when they get here, we know what they’re doing every second of the day,” Walker said. “We try to keep them extremely active. They’re worn out, so we try to give them popsicles or something when they go home every day. We just try to make it a fun experience for them.”
Camp will take place Monday through Wednesday from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. Campers are expected to be at the high school field house by 8 a.m. Monday for orientation and shirt handouts.