VERSAILLES – For Versailles head football coach, it is all about exposing the younger kids to the game of football.
Miller is hosting his Future Tigers Youth Football Camp this week. It is the seventh year he has done so and as it is almost every year, he has nearly 60 kids in attendance.
“Today we focused on defense,” Miller said. “We showed the safe way to tackle and then we had a couple of stations on the different positions on the field. (Monday) we focused on offense so we had them play all the different offensive positions just to try to expose them to every position out there. Tomorrow is more of a competition day. We will do some activities where we can see who can throw and catch, who is the fastest man and so on.
“We also do a lot of two-hand touch football games out here,” he continued. “That’s what they want to do is get out and play. The big thing is to expose the kids to the game of football and teach them how to have fun with it.”
Not that no other youth camp utilizes its high school players to help, but Miller has all his juniors and seniors – about 20 of them – working the camp kind of on their own.
“We let the high school kids – the juniors and seniors – pretty much take care of things,” Miller said. “They coach the kids in the position drills and then they are their coaches when we do the two-hand touch football games as well. I think the kids look up to that because those are the guys they see out there on Friday nights. Now they can put a face with a name and it is the guys they are looking up to as they are growing up that are now the guys they get to work with at the camp.”
Versailles has a rich tradition in football having won seven state football championships (1967, ‘90, ‘93, ‘94, ‘95, ‘98 and 2003) and been state runners-up three other times (1988, ‘96 and 2004). They compete in the difficult Midwestern Athletic Conference, but Miller said he doesn’t really talk about any of that with the kids.
“We do talk about how fun it is to play on Friday nights,: Miller said. “It’s just a whole different animal being out there in front of the crowd under the lights and all that. We actually do a flag football league in the fall and the games are very similar to the games we play here. The last day we do it we go on Saturday night under the lights on our game field so it is a really neat experience for the kids to be able to get out there and do that.”
Now that he is in his seventh year with this camp, Miller said he has started to notice some of his high school players that started with his camp when they were the fourth grade.
“Last year’s seniors were the ones that started and went all the way through flag football,” Miller said. “That was neat because they knew how special it was to them when they were growing up so now they can return the favor for these younger kids.
“It’s fun to be out here,: he continued. “I won’t see these kids for a while yet but you start learning some names and see them interact with the high school kids and that is a lot of fun. The young kids have fun and the high school kids do too. It’s good to see that going on.”
Miller said the Tigers have one 7-on-7 left this summer. It will be at 6 p.m. on Monday at St. Henry.