By Journal Staff Writer
“If you can learn the terminology, the plays, and skills of a football playbook, then you can do classroom work. And as you go from the beginning stage of football, to the more advance level, such as college and professional football, the more sophisticated that playbook gets;” Dr. Carnel Smith told The Toledo Journal, what he instils in those youth who attend his football camp.
During the week of Monday, June 20, through Friday, June 24, at least 100 boys, from grades third through eighth, attended the Dr. Carnel Smith Free Football Camp, held at Scott High School, 2400 Colllingwood Blvd.
Players learned various offensive and defensive skilled positions. They learned how to read the body language, as well as the eyes of offensive players, and simultaneously, learned how to not, get read by the defense. They learned footwork, how to shift right to left, how to throw, catch, and hold the ball. They also learned that they had nightly homework, such as learning the definitions of words like responsibility, respect, and fortitude, and being able to use the word in a correct sentence.
Therefore, before hitting the field, they sat in the bleachers and had to pull out their homework assignment, and give the correct answer, if called on to do so.
“Speak louder so everyone can hear you,” Dr. Smith would tell one of the boys who whispered his answer. “Those of you playing quarterback, you have to yell out your plays or your offense won’t hear you,” he told them.
Throughout the time spent going over the homework, Dr. Smith would connect definitions, or speaking loudly with confidence, to the sport they all loved; football.
“I want them to build up their confidence. I want them to feel like they belong wherever they may be,” he said.
Dr. Smith, who is a native of Toledo, played at Scott High School, then in college for the University of Pittsburgh, and went on to play professional football, understands the importance of having a solid education in order to succeed in football.
“The time of the dumb football player is long gone,” he said. “You can no longer be unintelligent and play this game,” Dr. Smith said.
He asked the players, how many of them want to play college football; every hand went up. Dr. Smith then explained to them that college coaches look to see which players are coachable; or follows directions.
“Education will open the doors for you. It’s a combination of talent, and education that will help you succeed,” he told them.
Djuan Gott, 10, has attended the camp the past four years. He said he learned how to be a better quarterback, and learned new words. Djaun will be attending St. Johns in the fall.
Carnel Smith II, nine, plays the quarterback position. Being the son of the founder of the camp, he definitely knows the importance of having academics as his foundation.
“I learn a lot when I’m at the camp. I learn how to not let others pull me down and to stay focus,” he said. Carnel will be attending Gesu in the fall.