Rice University hosts football camp at San Benito High School

SAN BENITO — When it comes to experiencing training reps with a college football coaching staff, the opportunity is rare.

For more than a dozen football players from the San Benito community, they had that opportunity Tuesday morning’s David Bailiff satellite football camphosted by the Rice football staff at San Benito’s Bobby Morrow Stadium.

The camp is for athletes grade 9-12 and focuses on drills, fundamentals and technique training at specific positions.

Campers are broken up into offensive and defensive positions and are motivated to play at a higher level while polishing their game.

“It requires a lot of reps whether you’re catching the ball, throwing the ball or blocking or tackling,” said Rice head football coach David Bailiff. “Whatever reps these young men take are important for them to become better players.

“It also shows they love the game of football because they’re out here in the hot morning when there are a lot of other things they could be doing.”

Tuesday’s campwas overseen by Bailiff, but was under the direction of tight ends coach David Sloan and the rest of the Rice coaching staff.

“We threw a few different things throughout the day and the kids have hit it seamlessly and we’re excited about that,” Sloan said. “We’re giving the campers a chance to work on offense during the first part of the camp and defense during the second part of the camp — they’re picking up skills on both sides of the ball.”

With the Rice staff taking a look at different players in different regions, the thing that sticks out most in the Valley is the speed.

“You don’t get the size that you see up north, but the speed and athleticism at the skill position here is on par with anywhere else in the state,” Sloan said.

Bailiff also went on to stress the importance of having a presence and building relationships with the Rio GrandeValley.

That is apparent with these satellite camps

Tuesday’s camp was the second by Bailiff and his staff in the Rio GrandeValley in as many days.

They also hosted a campMonday in Weslaco.

“The Valley plays a good brand of football and it’s what we need to have a bigger presence here,” Bailiff said. “We signed (McAllen Memorial quarterback) Jonathan Sanchez last year. We have to come here and try to increase our presence and build stronger relationships so hopefully we can recruit down here.”

Satellite camps, however, have been a subject of national controversy in the last couple of months.

Back on April 8, the NCAA banned the camps after Division I councils ruled that such clinics be held at school facilities or a facility regularly used for practice or competition.

The controversy stemmed from programs using such clinics to sign recruits outside of a schools typical recruiting area.

Later in the month, however, the ban was rescinded as the NCAA board wanted the Division I council to review the entire FBS process.

Rice and Conference USA were in favor of the camps from the start and believe they help players who don’t have the means of travel to get in front of Division I coaches.

“It should always be about the kids and I’m in favor of the satellite camps,” Bailiff said. “We hold two camps in the Valley, two in Dallas and in Austin and San Antonio.

“I think there are a lot of good a men who cannot drive to Houston and get exposed to college coaches and that is why we choose to come to them.”