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Getting started at the Bowden Academy
By Bobby Bowden
Special to

Bobby Bowden and family are at Troy State University in Troy, Ala. this week, running the 15th Annual Bowden Academy for quarterbacks and receivers. Bobby runs the camp with his sons Steve, Tommy, Terry and Jeff and son-in-law Jack. He will provide a daily diary for as he prepares for his 25th season at Florida State.

Sunday, June 17, 2001
This is the 15th year we've held the Bowden Academy football camp. My sons and I started this camp back in 1987. It's a quarterbacks and receivers camp for senior high age students. Our camps have grown from around 44 kids in 1987 to nearly 400 in 2001. That's about all we can handle. If we took more kids, it would diminish our coaching effectiveness.

Bobby Bowden
Bobby Bowden celebrates following the 2000 National Championship Game.
This year, I came in with a little summer flu bug. I'm just as excited as ever about working with the youngsters and coaching with my boys, but I haven't got that eager bounce in my step yet. The doctor gave me some antibiotics this morning, so I should be feeling better soon. At my age, there is so much I want to tell these young men about football and life while I can still get their attention. I also want my sons to listen well, so they can repeat the message when I'm no longer able to do so.

The camp begins every year in the third full week of June. We open on Sunday afternoon and go until Wednesday morning. Then we bring in another group on Wednesday afternoon and work with then until Saturday morning. Then we Bowdens all head to Panama City Beach for our annual summer vacation.

Tonight, we took the players out on the field at 7 p.m. and broke them in to how we do things. Terry and son-in-law Jack Hines work with the QBs. Steve, Tommy and Jeff work with the receivers. We've been teaching kids how to throw and catch the ball so long that our camp routine operates like clockwork.

Tommy Bowden
Tommy Bowden has brought his offensive genius to Clemson the past two years.
The field session ended around 8:30 p.m. Then we took all the players into a big indoor athletic amphitheater here at Troy State University and Jeff lectured on the three-step passing game -- hitches, slants and fades. Jeff is my new offensive coordinator at Florida State. As I listen to him lecture the boys, I remember what a good teacher he is.

The players appear a little nervous tonight. They'll loosen up tomorrow after they get to know us better. I guess it would be pretty scary bunking in the same dorm as the Bowden Boys.

When Jeff's lecture ended, I got up and told the boys I thought they did their flexibility exercises on the field better than any group we've ever had. My remarks were sincere. It made the players feel good. Hopefully they'll be encouraged to work equally as diligently for the entire session.

We'll find out tomorrow morning. One thing's for sure: Come tomorrow at 11:30 a.m., their tongues will be hanging out!

Bobby Bowden Q&A

Camp diaries: Repetition is the key to success

Camp diaries: It's all in the footwork

Camp diaries: A day of rest

Camp diaries: Bowden Ball

Camp diaries: Important lessons

Tommy Bowden Q&A