Penn State's summer football camps for high school athletes, which wrap up today, have proven to be a win-win situation for everyone involved.
The kids love attending and learning from the college coaches.
"It's a lot of fun," said Jake Chesney, a sophomore linebacker/offensive lineman for Altoona. "I went there the past two years, and I've always had a good time."
Former Penn State players helping out also have a blast.
"It's a fun time," former Nittany Lion defensive end Josh Gaines said. "The kids love it and really enjoyed the time. If I can pass on any knowledge of the game and knowledge I've gained over the years and also try to help, I'm willing to do that."
Penn State's assistant coaches also enjoy the experience.
"It's just awesome to see somebody like Dick Anderson, who's been in it for 40 years, getting as much enjoyment out of it as anybody," Altoona coach Tom Palfey said.
The Mountain Lions had eight players attend the PSU camp last week. Tyrone has six in attendance this week.
Several players said being there with all their buddies is the best part.
"It was good being with friends and having a good time," Altoona lineman Austin Rosenberry said.
The PSU camp, which costs $340 per athlete, is broken into a freshmen and sophomore squad and a junior and senior squad. Participants take part in three practice sessions each day - 8:30 to 10:30 a.m., 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. and 7 to 8:30 p.m. - and while they have some free time in between to go swimming or hang out, they often spend that time doing something else.
"We go to the cafeteria, then we come back and sleep," Tyrone quarterback Stevie Franco said. "We're pretty tired from it."
Joe Paterno hasn't been in attendance, but Franco has been able to work on drills with PSU quarterbacks coach Jay Paterno.
"The coaches here really know what they're talking about if you listen and follow what they're saying," Franco said. "All the coaches are really good guys and really good at helping you at fundamentals and getting better at your position.
"A lot of the stuff they're saying isn't just about football, it's about getting your degree and life."
Tyrone coach John Franco is one of many high school coaches helping out at the camp this week, and Palfey was around to watch last week.
"They're getting their money's worth out of it," Palfey said of the campers.
Chesney got to work on linebacker-specific drills at "Linebacker U" with assistant coach Ron Vanderlinden and former PSU player Tyrell Sales.
"We learned basically the same stuff we were taught at Altoona, some of the basic techniques, and there were a couple drills that NFL scouts will do with players," Chesney said.
Penn State's Larry Johnson is one of the best defensive line coaches in college football, and Rosenberry had a chance to learn from him.
"It was great," Rosenberry said. "He's my favorite. I always liked him. He's just so inspiring."
Some of the other former PSU players helping out at the camp include Curt Warner, Terrell Golden and Elijah Robinson.
"I didn't think about starting the coaching thing at first, but I'm actually getting into it," said Gaines, who still has hopes of making an NFL roster this season. "Coaching actually comes second hand to me, so I'm able to pass on some knowledge pretty well.
"At first I didn't think they would listen to me, but these kids, a lot of them knew who I was. It was kind of surprising, but coming to the camps and some kids telling me they were fans of mine and asking me coaching tips was pretty neat."
Rosenberry said he could see the former PSU players "were having a great time" doing the coaching.
Chesney noted the camp has "helped me tremendously as a football player because I get to see what the big-time Division I coaches are teaching their athletes at their school. It's opened my eyes to the collegiate world.
"It was just a great experience."
Cory Giger can be reached at 949-7031 and firstname.lastname@example.org.