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Footballers prep for collegiate level

Right, Coach Arnold, of the Northwood Football coaching staff, tries to get a point accross to a group of eager-to-learn 2012 footballers. Photo by Olivia Shumaker (click for larger version)
July 04, 2012 - By Olivia Shumaker

Review Intern

Instead of lounging near pools or playing video games, the Dragon football team has been keeping busy with football camps and on June 29 they experienced something new - a football camp hosted by the coaching staff from Northwood University.

"It's another football opportunity for our players and a chance to get coached by a college staff," said Chris Bell, the Dragons varsity football coach. "Northwood's a very good program - they do a great job with their kids."

The Northwood camp focused on many familiar areas for the roughly 60 players who attended: one-on-one practice and individual position drills. Position drills provide a chance for players to focus on their specific roll in the game, be it offense or defense. They refresh what they have already learned and delve in-depth into new techniques.

One-on-ones are when two positions will work together to learn countermeasures. Quarterbacks, for example, might work with defensive backs to read coverage, or finding holes in zones where the receivers are open. Linebackers can work with running backs on tackling techniques. At the Northwood camp, though, the players were working with a college staff.

Because it was a college camp, the players who attended were tested throughout the day by the coaches so they could get an idea of the talent available in the area. Players had the chance, in this way, to convince Northwood coaches they were worth recruiting.

"In the recruiting process, we're looking at young men that are freshmen in high school; we're looking at eighth-grade students that are becoming freshmen in high school, all the way through to be able to tell them about Northwood and talk about it from an academic standpoint, as well as an athletic standpoint," said Mike Sullivan, head coach for Northwood football.

Players from numerous schools outside of Lake Orion attended, including Brother Rice, West Bloomfield and some schools in the thumb who woke up for an early drive to be able to attend the camp. Among the attendees were a variety of reasons for coming. Brother Rice junior Damaris Woods said he came, "trying to get an offer," from Northwood, while L'Anse Creuse senior Logan Diehl said, "being at Northwood could really be beneficial to me for what I want to major in."

Participants also expected different things from the camp besides simply learning a different coaching style. Some were looking for opportunities to see the way college coaches think, while others, like Lake Orion junior Brennan Rourke, were excited about the one-on-one work that a smaller camp could provide.

"What I like to see at a camp is one-on-one time with the coaches to really getting trained," said Rourke.

Ultimately, though, between recruiting, strutting and techniques, there were two common factors: football and learning. Throughout the day, players and coaches kept in mind a love of football and the process of learning that builds a good team and an even better group of individuals.

"I really want to get better at football," said Sean Mercier, a Lake Orion sophomore. "I really love it a lot."

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