June 14, 2006
Norman, OK (CSTV U-WIRE) -- Nearly 40 junior high and high school football players from across the country participated in this year's Oklahoma Football Kicking Camp.
The camp was the first football camp at OU just for kickers and was taught by former OU kickers Uwe Von Schamann and Scott Blanton.
"Both of these guys are very accomplished, great kickers," said OU football head coach Bob Stoops. "It is great for these kids to get a chance to work with them."
The camp was made up of two sessions, one on Sunday and one on Wednesday. Each session included morning and afternoon practice time with Von Schamann, lunch and film study over the morning practice.
Matt McMillen, OU football administrative coordinator, said the camp gives kickers from all across the country between the ages of 8 and 18 the chance to work with some of the best kickers in the history of college football.
"Each of these kids vary in age and ability, but this camp provides something for all of them," Von Schamann said. "I hope that each of them left today with an idea of ways to improve their kicking game and an appreciation for the pressure it takes to kick in front of people like coach Stoops."
Casey Russell, a participant from Texas, said that kicking in front of Stoops was the most nerve-racking thing he had ever done.
"I was doing great and getting good distance on all my kicks, and then Stoops stopped by and I could feel the pressure of kicking in front of him," Russell said. "I really want to play for OU, and I know to do that I have to impress him."
Russell said his first few kicks with Stoops watching were not as good as he would have liked, but he eventually was able to kick a few solid balls.
Bud Jessee, a father of one of the campers, said having Stoops make an appearance at the camp helped make the day special for all of the kids involved.
"My son is a huge OU football fan, so getting to meet and talk to Stoops was an unexpected treat for both of us," Jessee said. "Most of the kicking camps that we have gone to the coach either doesn't stop by or he just says hi and leaves, but Stoops seemed to make it a point to talk to the kids and even sign a few autographs."
Austin Lalich from Chicago said this camp was the most useful he had attended because of all the instruction he received both from Von Schamann and from the video tape.
"Watching myself on tape really helped me to realize what the things are that I need to work on to become a better kicker," Lalich said.
For many of the players at the camp, this was just one of many camps they will be attending this summer.
"There are a bunch of one-day camps I am going to in Houston and (the University of Texas at El Paso)," Russell said. "I will see which ones I like best and then come back to those camps next year."
Russell said he is already making plans to attend the Oklahoma Football Kicking Camp next year.
While Von Schamann is not sure if there will be a camp just for kicking next year at OU, he said that if there is, he hopes he will be the instructor for it again.
"It (kicking) is a huge part of the game, and I would love to be involved with anything that helps these kids better themselves like this camp has done," Von Schamann said.
(C) 2006 Oklahoma Daily via CSTV U-WIRE