Young running backs perfect skills at special camp

NEGAUNEE — Adrian Peterson, Le’Veon Bell, Eddie Lacy. Those are three of the best running backs in the NFL and they didn’t get there by just playing Madden all day. That wasn’t the case for several young athletes who made their way to Negaunee for a special camp.

This is the first year for the running back camp, which is hosted by Marquette–native Doug Heslip, who has been involved with coaching for about 15 years. He spent eight of those years with the Green Bay Packers at the Don Hutson Center, as well as Team USA Football in Canton, Ohio. The camp featured many different drills and points of focus for those who want to learn about being a successful running back.

“I focus on, in this camp, stance and all sorts of other stances. Then pressure points to make sure they don’t fumble. Then we get into some moves with them, like jump cuts, spin moves and how to avoid defenders, what to look for when they break the huddle. If they make a mistake when they break the huddle, when they look to where they are going, how to correct that. We go through a lot of agility drills to make them a better running back,” said Heslip.

Heslip says it’s important for athletes to learn the fundamentals at a young age so that it makes life easier for their future coaches.

“When they come up to high school, they already know what they are doing and they don’t have to spend time trying to show them how to play the position. And they learn that here at an early age. I like to watch them grow from the youth level to the high school level. Some of the kids I have trained have gone on to play college,” Heslip said.

Heslip has also published several articles about playing football and also has a Running Back DVD through American Football Monthly.