New Orleans Saints Junior Training Camp hosts event with Ascension Cougars

Mary-Glenn Smith
Participants at the New Orleans Saints Junior Training Camp tested their vertical jump skills against some of the top Saints players such as Jeremy Shockey, Marques Colston, Reggie Bush and more.

The New Orleans Saints Junior Training Camp teamed up with Ascension Cougars Youth Football to host a special camp for aspiring young football players Tuesday at Gonzales Middle School.

Representatives from the Saints Youth Program came out and assisted youth football coaches in teaching basic football skills to boys ages 5-13.

“This camp gives the Saints an opportunity to interact with the communities around New Orleans,” said Leon J. Blouin III., president of the program. “It gives them a chance to actually get out and talk to the kids.”

No Saints players were able to attend the camp because they are currently in offseason training.

Kids attending the camp got the opportunity to experience the same drills and use the same equipment as the Saints players do in their practices.

Participants at the camp spent the first half of the day divided into groups.

From the groups the young football players rotated through six stations each teaching different basic football drills.

One of the favorite drills among the camp go-ers taught proper tackling form on a tackling dummy.

The dummy was wearing none other than a Colts, Peyton Manning jersey.

The kids cheered when reminded how the Saints tackled Manning in their memorable 31-17 Super Bowl victory over the Colts.

Another popular station at the camp was the vertical jump challenge.

Instructors at the camp measured the kid’s vertical jump and compared with top Saints players on a chart.

The chart began with tight-end Jeremy Shockey’s 34-inch leap and went up to running back Reggie Bush, who has a 40.5 inch vertical leap.

The day ended with the young football players doing a drill similar to the NFL combine used for recruiting.

Each participant at the camp did the 40-yard dash, the 20-yard shuffle, and the 3-cone drill.

“We are were fortunate to have the Saints Junior Training Camp to come,” Blouin said. “The Saints have a very big fan base here and its great to have the opportunity to interact with them.”

Practice for Ascension Cougar Youth Football will begin in July and the season will start in August.

Kids enjoyed learning tackling skills on a tackling dummy wearing a Peyton Manning jersey.