The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Sports

July 2, 2013

Notebook: Looking ahead

Meyer, Hood want camp to expand in 2014

HARPERSFIELD TOWNSHIP — As far as Ohio State coach Urban Meyer is concerned, Year 3 of the Urban Meyer/Dean Hood Football Camp will be bigger and better than ever.

“Dean and I kind of had this vision a few years ago, I was a little disappointed when I heard we made the kids pay, that’s not what this is about,” he said. “Next year, we’re going to really discuss this and make it as big as possible. The objective isn’t to just teach football, we have so many people here talking about real-life stuff.”

The camp swelled to 357 participants this year, the second edition of the camp.

It also included roughly 35 area coaches who helped run the camp.

Meyer said the growth from Year 2 to Year 3 will be even bigger.

“What happens from this year to Year 3 should be an explosion,” he said. “Everyone says cap it. No, let not cap it. Let’s bring everyone in and do it right. The objective is to make it the best it can be.”

For Dave Miller of ESPN 970 WFUN, who in conjunction with Dr. William A. Seeds helped put on the event, Meyer’s thought were news to him.

“Well that’s the first I’ve heard of it, too,” he said with a laugh. “My initial intention when we planned this was to start planning for next year as soon as it was over. You don’t put annual in front of it if you don’t have it every year.

“None of it starts until they (Meyer and Hood) say they’re in so apparently they told everyone they’re in so next year, I guess we’re having it.”

Passionate teacher

Anyone who saw Eastern Kentucky coach Dean Hood work with the younger campers at Spire on Monday saw a man who really loves his work.

Hood said the connection he had with the youngsters comes naturally.

“I like kids, I’ve got four of my own, 12, 10, 7 and 5, I’ve been trying for a couple years, talking my wife into having another one,” he said. “That’s kind of in my wheelhouse. I like kids. I’ve got a passion for kids.”

He also loves football, something he believes is important in a young man’s life.

“I love the game of football,” he said. “I’m blessed to be able to coach football. It really is the best classroom in America — that football field. People talk all the time about sports being extracurricular. I think sports are co-curricular. English teachers love English, math teachers love math. But I venture to say there’s more opportunity and coaches helping kids be better dads, better neighbors, better employees by the character and education they’re getting on the field than the classroom.

“I really believe athletics is co-curricular with education. I just love the chance to empower kids to not only be a good football player but be a good human being.”

Meyer complimented Hood’s ability to work with the kids while saying he’s better suited to work with the older kids in the camp.

“Hey Dean, get some coloring books and some balloons and you make some animals,” he said, drawing laughter from the assembled coaches and media. “Dean will handle the little peanuts and we’ll handle the bigger kids.”

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