Camp season is in full-swing, and the food fight between Jim Harbaugh and the SEC has distracted from the main purpose of the vast majority of camps.
Delta State head coach Todd Cooley is here to fix that.
Cooley, 22-10 with a Gulf South Conference championship, a Division II playoffs appearance and a No. 5 national ranking in three seasons after taking over a 3-7 program, spoke to his campers today in a lengthy and passionate thesis explaining why they're there and what he hopes they get out of the day. In short, it's to become better football players, not data points on a spreadsheet.
We pick up mid-sentence as Cooley gets going.
"Getting rated and all that, I don't believe in that. I believe in playing football. I believe in guys playing football, helping their teammates win championships. I believe in head coaches and high school coaches. You might get introduced to something today that's a little different than what your high school coach teaches. That's okay. This game can be done in many different ways. Does that mean that we're right and he's wrong? No. It just means we do something a little differently. Your high school coach, he's the expert. Your juco coach, he's the expert. We're just showing you how we do it. And if there's something you can get out of this camp that's going to help you, that's what this is all about.
"You shouldn't just come, pay your money, just so people can evaluate you. Everybody understand me? We're going to evaluate you. We're glad you're here. We want you to get something out of this. We want you to play some ball today. We're going to watch everything you do.
"Guys, this is what we're trying to do with our football program, and I want you to think about this. This is our whole society right now. This is our whole society and it's especially prevalent in your age group: everybody feels like they're entitled to something. Everybody feels like something's owed to them. Y'all understand what I'm saying? You probably play with guys, they just feel like they're a little bit better than everybody else. 'Coach ought to just be playing me. He owes me something.' Man, this game is about being appreciative of what you've got. This game is about earning everything you get. It's 100 degrees out here in the Mississippi Delta and you're going to come out here and earn everything you get. That's a great feeling, because while you're here, you're getting better and somebody else isn't. And I'm damn proud you're here today. I'm excited to have you here on our campus. We're proud of what we're doing here. We've done some great things here at Delta State and we'll continue to do great things.
"But this is not a combine. This is here for you to get better. Just think about that as you go on. Don't be entitled, be appreciative. Somebody might've paid to get you here today or somebody might've brought you here today. Thank that person when you leave, because they gave you an opportunity to get better today. They didn't give you an opportunity to come up here and run a 40 and do a pro shuttle and take up half the darn camp trying to measure you out.
"Let's play some football. Everybody got it? Let's play some damn football today."
Amen to that.