Caught up with Temple quarterback P.J. Walker via telephone on Friday night. Walker, as you probably know, is at Nicholls State in Thibodaux, La., where he’s working as a counselor at the Manning Passing Academy, the passing camp for kids run by Archie, Peyton, and Eli Manning.
He didn’t have much time to talk – sounds like he’s pretty busy from sun up to dun down while he’s there – but he gave us a few nuggets about what the experience is like.
For instance, of the two Manning brothers, Peyton is clearly the more talkative.
“He opened up to us right away,” Walker, one of about 40 collegiate quarterbacks working the camp, said. “Peyton took the lead and he got right into things. Football-wise, he talked about what the best possible way to be ready for the upcoming season. He told us that with two months to go before the start of the regular season you need to be focusing on your team, not your opponent. Get yourself ready and let your coaches get you ready for the start of the season. That’s their job.
“He really spent most of his time talking about what we want to teach to the campers,” Walker said. “We spent a lot of time talking about what we were going to be teaching.”
Walker and the other quarterbacks are basically coaching. They rotate around the field in groups coaching the campers (most of them in high school but some in junior high) on the nuances of the position.
“It’s very specialized,” Walker said. “We are at stations coaching three-step and five-step (drop) techniques. We are also teaching zone read, sprint drop and play action, so we really cover a lot. It’s actually cool because you are coaching kids. You get an understanding of what coaches are doing.”
Walker said the day begins at 7 o’clock with a wakeup call, followed by breakfast and then taking the field around 8.
“We go all day after that,” Walker said.
Walker is rooming Nevada quarterback Cody Fajardo, Colorado State’s Garrett Grayson and Utah State’s Chuckie Keeton, three seniors. However, Walker said he’s spent most of his time talking with fellow University of Houston sophomore and American Athletic Conference signal caller John O’Korn.
While this is football camp, Walker said that when they weren’t instructing campers in the passing game, the talk was about – you guessed it – LeBron James returning to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
“Everybody’s talking about that, it’s crazy,” Walker said. “But the focus is really on football and instruction. It’s really kind of cool being here.”