Area football teams use 7-on-7 drills to get work for their skill position players throughout the summer months.
But for four days each summer, local linemen get their chance to take center stage with a series of workouts in the sun.
Starting Saturday, nearly 400 high school football players will travel to Thibodaux for the annual Offensive-Defensive Line Camp, which is in its 33rd year on the Nicholls campus.
Centers, guards, tackles, tight ends, nose guards, defensive tackles, defensive ends and linebackers in ninth-12th grades will receive more than 40 hours of instruction and 500 former camp participants have signed college scholarships.
The cost is $425 per camper, which includes room, meals, T-shirt and instruction. There is a $10 fee for helmet rental if needed.
It can be paid online by credit card at www.offdeflinecamp.com. Registration will be held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday in the Cotillion Ballroom at Nicholls. Walk-up applicants will be accepted.
Mark Songy is the camp director and Pete Jenkins (nearly 40 years of coaching high school and college with stints at Southern Miss, South Carolina, Oklahoma State, Auburn and LSU and time as defensive line coach for the Philadelphia Eagles) are expected to be on hand.
Other coaches will include Don Rodrigue (more than 40 years of college and high school coaching) and Randy Breaux (more than 30 years of high school coaching). NFL coaches such as Karl Dunbar, Brendon Daly, Ryan Neilson, Bo Davis and others will attend.
Campers will also receive instruction from the Nicholls football staff and Colonels trainers will be on hand as well junior college and high school coaches from Louisiana, Texas and Mississippi.
Rodrigue said the camp is one of the best around.
“Most of the coaches who are working it have been doing it for a bunch of years,” Rodrigue said. “It gets that title because of the quality coaches we bring in here. The coaches teach the campers proper technique, and it’s taught by some great coaches from the high school and college levels. It has nothing to do with recruiting, and it has nothing to do with how fast you are and how tall you jump. It’s all about taking young men and making them better athletes.”
South Lafourche head football coach Blake Forsythe said the camp is beneficial.
“The Manning Passing Academy gets all the press in Thibodaux, but the premiere lineman camp in the country is also based here,” Forsythe said. “Great opportunity for our local linemen to learn from line coaches from high school, college and the NFL. It gives an opportunity for local coaches to learn as well.”
Rodrigue said the objective of the camp is to improve technique. For offensive lineman, the points of emphasis include stance, explosion and leverage drills and individual and combo blocks. Defensive lineman receive tips in pass rush, reaction to commonly used blocking schemes, use of hands-on defense and work habits.
All practices are scheduled for the fields near the St. Thomas Aquinas Center, located along La. 1 between Madewood and Audubon drives. Coaches, parents and guests are invited to attend practices and lectures.
Many campers and coaches return every year because of the quality of the camp.
“They look forward to our teaching. They keep coming back," Rodrigue said. "We have a tremendous network of high school coaches that have been working the camp that have knowledge on what they’re doing. The coaches who are working keep coming back. They see the worth of it. They see how good it is and how much improvements they can make for their kids.”
For information, visit the website at www.offdeflinecamp.com or call 985-859-7810.