During Tuesday’s session of the Kennedy Road Middle School Football Camp, camp director Elkins didn’t just sit on the sidelines and watch the action. He barked instructions to the campers during the lineman drills and footwork drills outside on the practice field, he motivated the kids in the weight room as they lifted light weights and he spoke to the campers — many of them current Kennedy Road football players — as a group in the gym.
Elkins and his KR coach, Demarcus “Dee” Sims, helped work with the kids outside in the morning heat and in the heat of the school’s weight room, making sure the campers were learning all the fundamentals of the game of football. The campers, who ranged in age from 7-14, were taught everything by Elkins and the camp’s special guest coaches from finishing drills at full speed to weightlifting techniques to being a good teammate. Elkins even had all the coaches give praise reports on campers who performed well that particular day.
“I have thoroughly enjoyed this camp. The kids have been excellent campers and I’m so glad my former UGA teammates and other coaches came to help me. The parents and school officials have also been great to me as well,” said Elkins. “It’s been a lot of fun and a good learning experience. I can’t wait to do it again next summer.”
The KRMS camp, which started Monday and ends today, was benefitted by the presence of several special guests who helped the young campers, free of charge. The guests included Spalding High head football coach Nick Davis and former UGA football champions Lindsay Scott, DJ Jones, Matt Simon and Dale Williams.
The UGA players enjoyed their time spent at their former teammate’s camp.
“I’m very impressed with what Coach Elkins has done with this camp. The kids are doing pretty well for this time of the year,” Scott said Tuesday. “What I wanted to instill in the kids was that it’s all about discipline and the ability to follow directions. You’ve got to be disciplined and follow directions in football and in life as well.”
Scott said seeing the kids run the drills and lift weights “got his competitive juices flowing.” He made sure that many of the campers finished at top speed during the footwork drills and taught several of the campers the proper way to lift weights.
“I wanted to see if the campers were willing to learn and give their best effort out there. Some kids are just naturally athletic and the drills come easy while others may have to work harder to get the job done,” Scott said. “I’m happy as long as the kids are making the effort. That’s what it’s about.”
Daryll “DJ” Jones, a former UGA cornerback, said he was happy to give of his time and support Elkins at his camp.
“This camp is a wonderful thing and much needed for the kids in this community. You want these kids to not only do well physically, you also want them to exhibit good character,” said Jones, who along with former UGA secondary mate Dale Williams, hosts a sports TV show in their hometown of Columbus, Ga. “You’ve got to teach these kids life and football lessons early so when they grow up, they’ll be better football players and even better men.”
Many of the campers said they had a good time (despite running in the heat) and learned a lot at the KRMS camp.
“I learned more blocking schemes and how I should get the snap right and things like that at camp so far,” said Justin Rogers, 13, the center for Kennedy Road’s football team. “It’s a great way to get ready for football season next year.”
“I learned you have to dig deep and play through the elements. Football players work in all weather,” said offensive lineman Sims Bostic, 13. “In baseball, the game stops for rain and in basketball, you’re protected indoors. We have to deal with all types of conditions in football so we have to be mentally and physically tough.”
Bostic’s lineman teammate Caleb Leach, 12, said he learned a lot from the camp coaches this week.
“It’s not how hard you hit someone, it’s where you hit him that makes the difference,” Leach said. “I’ll definitely keep that in mind.”
Campers Tim Jordan, 12, Quadrea Reese, 12, and Ty Stodghill, 13, all said the camp taught them about the value of working hard to be better football players. They said the footwork drills and weight training will help them on the field next year and with their endurance.
“The coaches stressed that we always need to have a great mental approach,” Jordan said.
“The weight training was real nice,” said Stodghill, a running back. “I definitely want to get stronger next year, especially since may have the ball a lot.”