Freeport football preps for 'boot camp'
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Freeport football players will learn two words next week: Semper fidelis.
The Yellowjackets are taking a somewhat extreme yet patriotically unique approach to conditioning workouts and team bonding, bringing in Marine Corps members to conduct a four-day “Big Dog Boot Camp” at the high school's practice field.
The name was the brainchild of running back Damon Smith. The drills, which range from chin-ups to in-unison jogs to group humvee pulls, will be courtesy of the military.
“The Marines are big on discipline, and we like to think the same way,” Freeport coach John Gaillot said. “Nothing is given and, if you want something, you have to earn it. I want them to explain discipline to our players.”
A pair of Freeport grads, with the help of six Marine recruiters, will introduce a scaled-down version of boot camp, running players through drills and challenging them to finish what they've started. Although it will be grueling, it won't be Marine rigorous.
Think “Remember the Titans,” not “Full Metal Jacket.”
The players who finish camp, which runs Monday through Thursday, beginning at 7 a.m. each day — will get a red T-shirt that shows a Marine bulldog wearing a Freeport Yellowjacket tattoo. The highlight will be pulling two humvees across the high school parking lot.
“We want to do some of the things we did in boot camp, but we asked ourselves, how do we make it unique?” said Marine Capt. Don Roenigk, a Freeport grad who will help conduct the event. “We want to concentrate on uniformity, and we want them to take pride in what they're doing. We want to sit down and talk about honor, courage and commitment.”
Roenigk said Freeport assistant Todd Durand introduced the idea. Durand attended an education event this spring at Marine Corps Recruit Depot in Parris Island, S.C.
Gaillot expects 45 to 55 players to attend the voluntary workout, which won't replace evening conditioning sessions.
“They'll have to come back later to lift,” he said. “When I first started here, there was a group of kids who were all ‘yes sir, no sir' kids. We want that to continue in our program.”
Former Freeport running back Cam Betush, a Marine Corporal, also will lead drills. Betush has plenty of stories to tell: He survived the explosion of a homemade bomb in Afghanistan and later earned a Purple Heart.
There will be minimal contact and no hitting. WPIAL practices officially open Aug. 13.
“We'll have the same intensity of instruction, but it will be a little different,” Roenigk said. “We'll do circuit training in small groups. It will be non-stop exercise for two to five minutes at a time. They will be pushed to exhaustion. There won't be any swearing, and it's not made to hurt or upset anybody.”
Freeport players are expecting the worst but are up for anything.
“I think it's a great idea. It will test us mentally and physically as a team,” junior receiver/defensive back Josh Brestensky said.
Senior quarterback Brendan Lynch said the camp will reveal character.
“It's pretty much where we are going to separate the men from the boys,” he said. “We can expect some tough activities while maintaining discipline because they will get in our faces. It will be a great experience and perfect preparation for the season.”
Bill Beckner Jr. is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-224-2696 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Rossi: Steelers rising fast in mediocre AFC
- Heyward, swarming defense get best of Chiefs in Steelers’ win
- Steelers offense learning to slam door
- Downie, Farnham bringing a much-needed edge to the Penguins
- Archery hunting in Mt. Lebanon called off for now
- Pittsburgh police doubling up on duty after potential threats
- Search for Duquesne University graduate Kochu continues
- Pittsburgh mayor Peduto goes ‘Undercover’ for CBS reality show
- Steelers-Bengals game to start at 8:30 p.m.
- Steelers clinch trip to postseason with big victory over Chiefs
- Fire marshal rules arson in Kittanning blaze