Over the past three days, the head of the Woodstock’s football program did a bit of both in a youth football camp hosted by the Wolverines.
Budde brought in current players, along with alumni such as San Francisco 49ers fullback Bruce Miller and former Georgia tight end Tripp Chandler, to assist with the camp held for first- through eighth-graders.
“I enjoyed having our players out there helping,” Budde said. “As they got to see these kids running around and playing, they are reminded that they used to play the game with that type of passion and enthusiasm for the game. I saw more kids diving for passes out here than I see in a whole season.”
Miller said he has assisted at camps hosted by some of his NFL teammates, and during college at Central Florida, so he jumped when Budde gave him the opportunity to help out at Woodstock.
“I just try to jump in wherever I can,” Miller said. “We have a lot of guys that hold their own camps in San Francisco, so I’m involved with their stuff. Coach Budde asked me at the beginning of the year if I would be able to do this and could start planning around it and I told him right away that I didn’t have to plan it. I would be there.”
The camp, which was broken down into two divisions based on age, had about 50 boys in attendance.
“It was everything I think we wanted it to be and hoped it would be,” Budde said. “I think having guys come back and help just shows their love for the game. It was really special.”
Budde said the goal of the camp was to teach the young players the game of football, but he also wanted it to be fun.
“We really want to teach the fundamentals of the game because that is what the kids need to be successful to make it all the way to where Bruce is now,” Budde said. “But we also want them to play the game for fun. I think that, even at the high school level and on up, we forget that it is a game and that it’s supposed to be fun.”
During the camp, players stretched, ran drills and played games. Faces were smiling as the camp wrapped up Wednesday with snow cones and autographs by Miller, who gave away a football and gloves to lucky fans who were able to answer questions about his career.
While many of the campers may end up being Wolverines someday, Budde said there were players bound for other schools such as Etowah and River Ridge in attendance as well. He didn’t consider the camp a way to build players for the future, but rather to impart a love of the game.
“We hope some of the skills they take back with them,” Budde said. “We just wanted to teach the game of football to whoever attended.”
Miller said some of the kids arrived at the camp with little or no football knowledge, only to leave with a new appreciation for the sport.
“A couple of the guys never even played football before,” Miller said. “I don’t even know if they watch it on TV, but we had a lot of fun. That’s what it’s all about anyways.”