By the numbers of different-colored jerseys and helmets on the field at the Lawyer Milloy Football Camp last weekend, it was apparent that it has already become a popular event nationwide in only its second year.
Hundreds of kids from around the country came to take part in the camp that moved to Milloy’s hometown after taking place in Everett last year.
“It’s nice to come back to where it all started,” said Milloy, noting his experiences beginning football at the East Side Boys and Girls Club.
Milloy’s camp took place from June 28 to July 1, and brought in coaching staffs from Pacific Lutheran University, which hosted the event, and University of Puget Sound, among several other colleges and high schools in the area.
The camp separated players into different age groups, including 7 to 12-year olds and high school-aged kids, to allow for more one-on-one coaching.
“We don’t get too fancy with the X’s and O’s,” said Nate Gillam, head coach of Bremerton High School, who was also “head coach” for the 7 to 12-year olds. “For some of these kids, this is their first time strapping on a pair of pads. So we just want to let them know this is what football is all about, and try to make it fun.”
“The main purpose of the camp is for kids to come out here, have a good time, meet some new friends, and learn a little bit about football,” Milloy said.
With the NFL in an extended lockout, Milloy, currently a free agent, and Seahawks Cam Morrah, Deon Butler, Ben Obomanu and Marshawn Lynch were all able to spend a bit of time at the camp.
“We got more (NFL players) than we’ve ever got in the past,” said Gillam, who is in his sixth year running the football camp. “It was a good message they brought to these kids, and they got a lot out of that.”
The camp separated players into positions, running them through high school and college-style drills to develop techniques. At the end, the coaches selected the top players per position, who were then given awards.
“The kids came out with the right attitude,” said University of Puget Sound assistant coach Pat Donovan. “I think we did a good job teaching them some things we can take back to their Pop Warner teams.”
“Every day, with each one of them I told them to try and get better at one thing,” Milloy said. “The reaction that I got was genuine.”
Perhaps not as genuine as the experiences and instruction learned from a possible future Hall of Famer.