WESLEY CHAPEL — Summer football camps aren't just about players getting back in shape after a lengthy offseason. For coaches, it's a chance to come together and get their chemistry right, too.
Wiregrass Ranch coach Jeremy Shobe and his staff have used their summer football camp as a way to work on getting themselves back into a good routine, as well as get their players in shape and welcome some young faces into the ranks of Bulls football.
"This summer our offseason workouts have been rained out pretty much every week," Shobe said. "The camp gives us coaches a chance to knock the rust off and get our communication and routines down, too. It's as good for the coaches as it is for the kids."
The camp, which ran all week, was open to kids in grades 6-12, but is primarily a supplement to the Bulls' summer workouts. Working on conditioning, speed and strength training, and advanced concepts for both offense and defense, the camp is a good way to get kids in the right frame of mind for the season ahead.
"This will help get their competitive blood flowing," Shobe said. "For the younger kids who are in pee wee football, they start up next week, so this a great way to get them ready for the start of their seasons. We've been doing these camps for a long time and our team always benefits from it. For the young guys, it's just good to have them around so they can learn to respect the game and see what goes into it at our level. Even though some of them will never be on this team, it's great to share the beauty of team sports with the kids."
Wiregrass Ranch struggled last year, going winless for the entire season. Up and coming quarterback Shane Bucenell feels that the camp is getting the team's discipline up to the level they'll need to be at to avoid another tough season.
"A lot of guys are going to be going two ways this year, so we need to be out here in the heat and getting in the best shape we can," Bucenell said. "We're not going to suffer another year like we did last year. We look better already than we did at this point last year. We got some new kids coming in, and this camp can give us a chance to work with them and see the talent that we have."
Ron Cox Jr., 12, who plays youth football for New Tampa Wildcats, said he's gained valuable experience with at the Bulls camp.
"This has a lot more conditioning than other camps I've been to," he said. "We get to do a lot of footwork and basic things that we need for practice when our season starts. I'm really enjoying doing some new things and playing in the 7-on-7 games."
Cox's 11-year old brother, Luke, considers himself to be more of a baseball player, but he participated in the Wiregrass camp because of what it can do for his strength and athleticism.
"My strength is building and I'm hoping this will help me hit the ball further," he said. "I'm hoping this will make me faster running the bases too. I've enjoyed getting to work out in the gym with the older kids."