Winter camp – day 6

team photo Florida camp

Spring practice 2013Just compare the pictures from this week with one from last year’s Spring Camp to see the benefits of practicing in Florida. The 2013 camp was held in late March and several days of it had to be held inside the Gryphon Dome because of snow covering the field at Alumni Stadium. Two other days the practices were held on Varsity Field. Finally, on March 29 the new turf at Alumni was sufficiently clear of snow to hold the Spring Scrimmage. Reports on last year’s camp and scrimmage can be found here and here.

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With perfect conditions for practices and meetings, and being a thousand miles from the normal distractions, I’m hearing that the coaches are very happy with what they were able to accomplish through the first five days of camp. All three groups – offense, defense & special teams – have been able to install plenty of new things from a systems standpoint. A lot was also done to sharpen skills. But it wasn’t all about football. Coach Lang repeatedly stated the what he wanted to accomplish in Florida was 50% about football and 50% about team bonding.

Special Teams Coordinator Bill Brown says … From a team bonding point of view, I have never seen a Gryphon team this close in the 20 years I have been associated with this team. The Gryphon Family is tight and the bond is only getting stronger.

Also, DB Coach Gregg Butler …  my young crew worked their butts off in Orlando, Fla. … Very proud of the guys.

And while O-Line Coach Mike MacDonald was very happy with the progress of his group [details to follow] … the whole week was fantastic beyond expectations for the entire team.

Coach Gregg Butler (back row, centre) with his defensive backs

Coach Gregg Butler (back row, centre) with his defensive backs

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They say a picture is worth a thousand words and I’ve seen dozens of pictures showing the non-football fun this team is having. A lot of those photos are available on the Facebook pages of Gryphon Recruiting, University of Guelph-Gryphon Football and Gryphon POPs Group. Gryphon players are enjoying beach volleyball, pickup basketball, mini putt golf, the hotel swimming pool and, Wednesday night, an NCAA Div 1 basketball game.

Yesterday’s practice at Apopka Fields was the final one. Today the teams splits up and players have their choice of heading to the beach or visiting Disney World/Universal Studios.

As is customary there was a team dinner scheduled at the end of camp. Should have been last night I believe. I haven’t heard any mention of a speaker but I wouldn’t put it past Stu Lang to come up with a big name. The 2010 speaker was former NFL O-Line coach Jim McNally, 2012 featured CFL legend Chuck Ealey and in 2013 TigerCats head coach Kent Austin did the honours.

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