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Lineman camp offers something special for newcomers, returnees

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  • Feature Story
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  • George Becnel
  • Posted:
  • June 20, 2017 - 6:56am

Jason Dumas of St. James (left) takes part in a defensive line drill Monday morning at the Offensive-Defensive Line camp in Thibodaux.

THIBODAUX - There’s just something special about the Offensive-Defensive Line Camp for a newcomer.

“I love it,” said Cody Pellissier, who will be a sophomore offensive lineman at Riverside Academy in the fall. “It teaches you fundamentals and steps. I used to be terrible with my steps but now I will be so much better when we get in games and practices.”

“It really helps me better my craft. They are showing me ways to get off blocks, how to fight blocks and how to get to the ball quicker. They are showing me how to finish and to be dedicated to the process of being a championship-caliber team,” said Dewayne White, a defensive end from St. James.

“This camp is great. The coaches are so interactive with you. I’m just glad to be here,” said Lamar Felton, who will be a senior left tackle at Lutcher in the fall.

The camp, held annually over a four-day period on the campus of Nicholls State University, has a special appeal for those who come back year after year.

A dean among camp participants is Riverside offensive lineman Mason Scioneaux. A key member off of the Rebels’ 2016 Division III state championship team, Scioneaux took part in the camp, which concluded Tuesday, for the fourth time.

“In the offseason, you can’t practice a lot because of rules, when we do workouts at school, you don’t have as much time as a group to work on the fundamentals again and to work on your craft and the little things we wouldn’t have time to do it because of other areas of the team. Camps like this, they really break down every area of being a lineman and help you out so that you understand everything about it,” Scioneaux explained.

“It’s a very good atmosphere, first off. Secondly, you can’t come here and not get better. The coaches are great. They really sit down and help you. If you have something with your stance, they will help you fix it,” said another returnee, Brayden Bauer, a center on Lutcher’s two-time Class 3A state championship team.

For Jason Dumas, a defensive and offensive lineman at St. James, the camp is about more than just learning about drills and techniques.

“It’s like family. It’s right here at Nicholls. I have my teammates here and I know maybe 25 percent of everyone around here,” Dumas said.

It’s not only the campers who return. Chris Lachney, head coach at Riverside Academy, has been to the camp a total of 15 times and has worked the camp for 13 years.

“It’s just a great camp. This is a hard-working camp that features the kids that typically don’t get a lot of attention and recognition during the season. Everything is geared toward quarterbacks, receivers and defensive backs in terms of camps but this is a camp that focuses on the people that are probably the most important to the success of football and that’s those guys up front. Not only that, it’s not a frills, swimming party kind of camp. These guys come out here and work their butts off for eight practices in three-and-a-half days. It’s a tough working environment. It makes the kids tougher and makes your kids a little closer as a team and they will definitely leave different than they came here,” said Lachney.

Many high schools send their entire offensive and/or defensive lines to the camp. Some campers arrive as individuals. Either way, there is something to be learned for everyone, according to Kenny Ferro, one of the original organizers of the camp.

“This camp has always been based on fundamentals. That starts with steps that you take to perform a block, the landmark, and the technique. It’s about steps, landmarks and techniques, whether that be working couples with a teammate or whether it’s an individual block. We have stations where we try and cover everything that a lineman will need to be exposed to. We don’t expose them to ‘the’ way to do something, we present them with ‘a’ way,” Ferro said of the camp, which started in 1987 and now includes more than 500 campers.

George Becnel | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

George Becnel is an award-winning journalist and has been a sports writer and editor for more than 30 years.