Robert Perea, The Fernley Reporter
Eastern Oregon football coach Tim Camp walked onto the field last Thursday at Fernley High School and saw lines of football players doing warm-up drills, and immediately the motivator in him came out.
“You’ve got a great opportunity here,” he shouted, while patting players on the shoulder pads. “What are you going to do with it?”
Last week was the fifth consecutive season Camp and his coaching staff have hosted the Eastern Oregon University football camp in Fernley. The camp and others like it that Eastern Oregon hosts in Northern Nevada offers local players the chance to learn fundamentals and skills from college coaches, and has also opened up recruiting channels. Eastern Oregon has had several players from Northern Nevada the past few years and on the roster for the coming season. Former Lowry player Jace Billingsley, who set several school and NAIA records, was signed this spring as an undrafted free agent by the NFL’s Detroit Lions.
“It all started with Jace Billingsley and now he’s in an NFL camp,” Camp said.
The Fernley camp was the fourth the Eastern Oregon has hosted already this summer.
“This is the best way to spend a summer, in my mind,” Camp said.
About 50 players from Fernley, 30 from Lovelock and 25 from Yerington participated in this year’s camp. Dayton has participated in the past, and Fernley coach Chris Ward said eventually he’d like to see all of the Lyon County schools participate.
Camp and his Eastern Oregon staff run the camps, instructing players by position groupings, and offering individual instruction.
“They run all the drills and we get a chance to see what they’re doing and we can learn as coaches, then we get some team time and some scrimmage situations,” Ward said.
Camp and his staff also spent time talking about schemes, drills or other aspects of coaching with the high school coaches
“I was just in the office with coach Ward talking the triple option,” Camp said.
Camp has been head coach at Eastern Oregon since 2008, after serving for two years as offensive line coach, recruiting coordinator and camp coordinator. Before coming to EOU, Camp was offensive coordinator at Bucknell University and the offensive line and tight ends coach at the University of Nebraska-Omaha. From 1997-2002, Camp was offensive line coach, recruiting coordinator and strength and conditioning coordinator at the University of the South in Sewanee, Tenn. In 2000, he was promoted to offensive coordinator. He started his coaching career in 1996 at Western Oregon University, where he coached the offensive line, tight ends and special teams.
Camp was a four-year starter on the offensive line for Oregon State, and received All-Pac-10 honors. Camp signed a free agent contract with the San Diego Chargers after his OSU graduation.
He said the camp offers his staff a chance to get to know those players who are interested in playing in college, and in turn the players can see whether they’d be interested in playing for his staff.
“I’m not a yeller and screamer, I’m more of a motivator,” Camp said. “We’ll hold guys accountable, don’t get me wrong, but they can see how we coach and how we are.”
For the Vaqueros, the camp kicked off a busy summer program. After taking this week off, the team begins a 3-week summer conditioning program next Monday leading up to the beginning of official practices starting Aug. 3.