Bollinger's Camp Provides Unique Experience

Vikings quarterback Brooks Bollinger and his father, Rob, team up annually to provide a unique football camp experience for roughly 75 high school students. Learn more about what they'll be doing beginning Sunday, July 8 as they kick off their 4th Annual Quarterback & Receiver School.

For some people, the holidays are the best time of the year.

But for Vikings quarterback Brooks Bollinger, you have to add this time of the year to his list of favorite days. For the past few years, July has been very special for him because he gets the opportunity to partner with his father, Rob, to help aspiring quarterbacks and wide receivers prepare for the leap from high school to college football. And this year is no exception as they prepare for their Fourth Annual Quarterback & Receiver School at the University of North Dakota.

Bollinger, who'll be competing for the starter's job in Minnesota this summer, grew up living and breathing football in his everyday life thanks to his father's 15-year coaching career that included positions at the University of North Dakota, Central Missouri State, Bismark State College, and Northern State University. So was a football career inevitable for him?

"It was something my dad never pushed on me, he was really supportive of whatever I wanted to do," Bollinger said.  "I just love hanging around with him. He gave me all the tools I needed to learn the game and be successful.

"From the time I was really little, I just enjoyed being around the two-a-days and the facility and hanging out with the guys and going on road trips. I got to experience a lot at practices and while riding the bus with the team. That was a thrill for me and that's where I learned to love the game."

(Getty Images/Stephen Dunn)
So Bollinger and his father now team up to share that passion for football with high school players, creating a unique football camp that focuses primarily on the passing game, leadership, and the mental aspects of the game that are required to make a successful transition into college football programs. The Vikings quarterback is quick to credit his father with the concept.

"It was his idea. He's been around college football, college recruiting and high school kids for a long time and worked some camps as well," Bollinger explained.  "We got talking about it and wanted to do something a little different, really tie in the mental side of the game as well as the physical and spend some time in the classroom with the kids. 

"We show some tapes of the practices we have during the camp, and we have meetings where we talk about the leadership side of the game." 

The motivation for bringing the athletes into the classroom was simple. "I think a lot of kids go through high school and head off to college and haven't really learned a lot about the Xs and Os of football and how it applies to what happens on the field," he said.  "We sit them down and really start to teach them the basics of coverages, route-running and timing and other important aspects of playing the game."

At some football camps, you'll find hundreds of kids signed up to participate. But the Bolllingers have a different philosophy about their camp, keeping enrollment low so that their coaching staff can provide plenty of individual attention and the athletes get plenty of reps on the field.

"With the coaching staff we have right now, we try to keep it between 60 to 75 kids," Bollinger said. "This year we added backs and tight ends, but there'll still be a focus on the passing game. 

"Some of them are seniors who have a pretty good grasp and are ready to take that next step, but we also have some kids who are just coming off their freshman year who are really raw and are still learning what a three-step drop is.  We really like to push them to develop mentally."

In addition to the Vikings quarterback and his father, they've assembled a strong group of area college coaches to help with the program. And they have two other talented and high-profile coaches on the staff.

"We have Jeff Horton, who was my quarterbacks coach in college and who is now with the St. Louis Rams," Bollinger said. "And we have Tim Dwight, who is a wide receiver for the New York Jets, who came out last year and has been a really great addition to our camp. He's terrific with the kids."

The camp kicks off on Sunday, July 8 and runs through Wednesday the 11th at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks.

A member of the Professional Football Writers of America, Ed Thompson's NFL and college football player interviews and features have been published across the network and syndicated through's NFL team pages.

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