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‘Yooper’ Football Camp brings it back to the basics

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Kingsford, Michigan (WJMN) – Football is a year-round sport for the dedicated student-athletes at the 2021 ‘Yooper’ Football Camp.

“I look at this camp as a kick-off for the season,” said Michael Meneguzzo, a Kingsford football player in the class of ’22. “So, you got your Summer workouts, but it all starts here. You get your skill work, you’re getting your teammate work and you’re having fun at the same time.”

The focus of the camp was on the fundamentals.

“We tend to complicate it sometimes as coaches, but it normally comes down to blocking, tackling, and teaching kids how to bend their knees, just doing the fundamental things right,” said U.P. Hall of Fame coach and camp organizer, Tom Wender. “It’s up to their coaches to take it from there and teach them what they want and so on and so forth. But it all starts with the fundamentals.”

Players got a chance to sharpen their skills, learning from some of the best teachers of the game at both the high school and collegiate levels. Coaches from four universities were on hand to t

“High school season is right around the corner and really the challenge I had to them is take something you learned from camp and continue to work on it and become the best player that you can be,” said Dan McCarty, head football coach at St. Norberts College and a former player at Northern Michigan.

“Trying to help the kids get better,” said Dan Metlach, associate head coach at Michigan Tech. “Breaking everything down to the fundamentals and basics of everything and taking it from there.”

The players received valuable feedback that they can take with them throughout the offseason and into fall camp.

“The college guys, you get to learn what they’re doing up there and it’s a little bit more, it’s harder than what we do and it’s different,” said Lucas Tappy, a Kingsford football player in the class of ’22. “We don’t really teach the same thing. It’s good to know what they’re doing up there and just get a feel for it so you can go and work on it throughout the summer, so if you end up getting to play college ball you’re ready for it and you know what’s coming.”

The camp also serves as an opportunity for coaches to build relationship with potential recruits.

“Since the first year we started doing this, we’ve recruited a kid and signed a kid out of this camp every year,” said Metlach. “So, whether it’s 70 kids here or 20 kids here we are always trying to recruit U.P. kids and take care of our backyard. If guys that are coming up want to be a part of Michigan Tech’s program and they play at one of these schools around here, we know what kind of football that they play here in the U.P. We love getting them on our roster for the next four years as well.”

“I love being here to see when maybe the young man drops a pass, how does he react? What’s his body language? How does he respond to the adversity?” said McCarty. “To be able to be here and put eyes on the young man, right? You can watch film but to have that in-person evaluation is so huge for us.”

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