Smith & Co. helps the next generation get better with inaugural camp


Parents dealt with the heat sitting on the metal bleachers at Carlock Stadium on the campus at the University School of Jackson.

Some stayed under umbrellas. Some went to their car and got back in front of an air conditioning vent.

Their children, who’d signed up for the inaugural Trey Smith Football Camp, grabbed a container of water and went on the field.

The younger campers who went through the camp in the morning did so on the Bruins’ practice fields behind the stadium.

There were more of the younger campers, and they got to stay off the artificial surface that increased the temperature for a few feet right above it.

But in the afternoon when there were fewer campers for the middle and high school camp, they stayed on the playing surface that generated a few extra degrees of heat in the hot and humid environment.

It was a quality physical test for the young players, decked out in their red camp t-shirts that were about the same shade as the Kansas City Chiefs’ uniforms.

The camp coaches, however, got to absorb as much heat from the sun as possible in their black t-shirts.

But the coaching staff at the camp was a Who’s Who among football names connected to Smith and USJ that showed up to help.

Legendary former USJ coach Mickey Marley was there, along with former NFL players Trey Teague and Artis Hicks. Smith got a few high school friends to come help too including former Tennessee Vol and North Side alum Greg Emerson.

USJ strength and conditioning coach Nick Stamper did a lot of the motivational talking to the campers. USJ head football coach Derrick Pritchard would then take the microphone to ensure everyone knew how long they had remaining at each station.

They would spend four minutes at each station, rotate and then take a five-minute break for water after every couple stations.

“That’s the key to this,” Smith said during one of the breaks. “I remember when I was in high school Coach Stamper was always preaching hydration – and mainly water.

“And now that I’m in the NFL, the trainers and medical staff for the Chiefs are preaching the same thing.”

This is the first time Smith has been involved in coordinating a camp. He said the one thing he always hated about camps when he was in middle and high school was all the running.

“If I really wanted to take running out of this camp, I guess I could,” Smith said. “But I know all that running I did back then made me better on Friday nights in the fall, so we kept it in.”

Most of the USJ coaching staff was involved with the camp too.

“I think we have a great group of coaches out here that have so much experience and knowledge coaching and playing the game,” Smith said. “I want every camper that steps on this field today to be a little better and maybe even have an idea of a few things to do to make themselves even better.

“I think this coaching staff does that. I appreciate all of them for saying ‘yes’ to me when I asked them to come out and help me today. Although I don’t think they knew it would be this hot when I asked.”

Brandon Shields,