- Feature Story
- George Becnel
- June 25, 2018 - 8:25am
THIBODAUX – The Manning Passing Academy lived up to the hype for a pair of River Parish high school quarterbacks.
“My expectations were pretty high. I expected to learn a lot and meet a lot of good college quarterbacks and Peyton himself. When I got there, it definitely matched my expectations,” said Kolby Bourgeois, who will be a senior at Lutcher for the 2018 season.
“The expectation is you are going to go there and see a lot of people that you only get an opportunity to see on national television or the news. But what it comes down to is it’s work. I think that’s what I liked about it. You go there and it’s not, ‘I’m going to go and I’m going to meet celebrities.’ It’s ‘I’m going to go there and be a better football player.’ That’s ultimately what I think makes the camp what it is,” said Andrew Naquin, who will be a sophomore at Hahnville in the fall.
Both quarterbacks said they attended the camp with the idea of becoming a better quarterback.
“I thought it would be a good opportunity to better my craft and learn more about the game of football and the position,” Bourgeois said.
“I just thought it would be a great opportunity to work on the little things that maybe you don’t get anywhere else because of the experience and the amount of coaching they have there. I thought it would be a good place to just take a time out from your busy summer and game sure you get the little things right and give yourself a competitive edge” said Naquin.
Both players said they got better at specific areas of quarterback play from the camp.
“I learned more about drops and reading coverages and defenses quicker,” Bourgeois said.
Naquin’s goal going into the camp was to work on his footwork. While at the camp, Naquin said he realized he was pretty much like most of the other quarterbacks among the almost 1,200 campers at the MPA.
“When you are back home, you are one of one. You are the quarterback in your area,” Naquin said. “When you go there, you find a lot of characteristics about yourself that everyone else has. You definitely get to see some of the qualities like leadership and just trying to find different ways to win. Everyone at that camp are all pretty much the same. Those qualities stick out mainly and that’s what I got out of the camp.”
There are more than 20 fields set up on the Thibodaux campus for the camp. The participants are divided into groups of roughly 10 players. They are assigned a special field and rotate from station to station to work with different counselors who instruct the players on different aspects of playing the quarterback position.
The counselors consist of college and high school coaches, along with many of the top collegiate quarterbacks in the country.
The camp counselor that stood out the most to Bourgeois, the Lutcher quarterback said, was Purdue quarterback David Blough, who worked with the campers on play-action and understanding coverages.
“I thought the quarterback from Purdue, David Blough, was great,” Bourgeois said. “He was a great guy and he really cared about it. He put everything into it. He really cared about each and every one of us and made sure we did everything right. To me, he really stood out as a good person.”
The camp was an experience both quarterbacks said they would recommend to other young signal callers.
“If you are planning to play that position and looking to get better, I think the camp is totally worth it,” said Bourgeois.
Being only a sophomore, Naquin said he hopes to return to the camp in the future.
“I will go back as long as they allow me. I don’t see myself ever not going,” said Naquin. “Anybody that can get a chance to get into the selection process or get their hands on the money, I definitely would recommend going.”