ST. CHARLES – Randy Wright moved around quite a bit in his youth but he said he found a home in St. Charles.
That made relocating the "Trickey-Wright QB/Receiver Camp" to St. Charles an attractive proposition to Wright, who went on to quarterback collegiately at Wisconsin and for the NFL's Green Bay Packers after starring at St. Charles High.
Wright, whose mother plus a brother and a sister still reside in St. Charles, shifted the west suburban location of the camp this summer from Wheaton Warrenville South to St. Charles North. The two-day camp began Saturday afternoon at North.
"I went to high school in Texas as a freshman and in Boston as a sophomore, so this was the only place I went for two years, and I felt because of the moving around, this was really more home to me," said Wright, a 1979 St. Charles High graduate. "The high school friends I met in St. Charles are still dear friends I have to this day so that acceptance for a junior coming in … the friends and teammates and kids I had here were fabulous."
About 40 campers – more quarterbacks than receivers – attended the camp. Wright specializes in molding quarterbacks, and said it's possible to have a substantial impact even in just a two-day span.
"The biggest impact you can have from a quarterback perspective, a lot of kids think they throw the ball with their arm, and the stronger my arm is, the farther I'm going to throw it," Wright said. "You throw the ball more with your lower body, and the left side of the body working with the right side of the body. And when you can teach them and show them it's not just all arm, that it's working together, it's firing the hip and getting the left side cleared out of the way, those are pretty simple concepts that once they see it, they understand it, and once they do it, they feel it. So you can change that pretty quickly."
St. Charles North junior quarterback Kyle Novotney was among the campers seeking to benefit from Wright's tips on footwork, arm angles, timing and leadership.
"It's a great opportunity to get coaching from a guy who's played NFL football, see his different viewpoints on how to throw a football and techniques," Novotney said. "I feel like he's helped me a lot in the first few hours."
Wright and his partner, Wisconsin Football Coaches Association hall of fame inductee Jeff Trickey, put on one- and two-day camps around the country.
St. Charles North coach Rob Pomazak said Wright approached him last year about the possibility of North playing host to the camp, and Pomazak said he was glad to help make it work. He soaked in the instructions of Wright and his staff and said he wished more of his players were able to attend.
"The thing that sets this camp apart from what I'm witnessing is the level of instruction and how it fits every single athlete that's here, whether it's a starting varsity quarterback, which there's a few, or if it's a sixth grade kid who's learning the position," Pomazak said. "The way they [structure] their instruction, it's extremely beneficial to everybody."
Pomazak expects the camp to become a summer staple in St. Charles. He said he'd like to see 100 or more attendees in the future and would like to reach out to more athletes at other schools in the area.
"That's the whole point, it's not to benefit St. Charles North per se, it's to benefit the entire community of the Tri-Cities and the Fox Valley, to bring quality instruction," Pomazak said. "I think there's great football out here and I want to make it even better with this kind of instruction. I think that's the goal, and I know Randy's committed. We're already talking about next year."
North Stars win 7-on-7: On Thursday, St. Charles North won the inaugural "Fox Valley 7s," an eight-team, 7-on-7 passing invitational featuring teams from the west suburbs and Rockford area that took place at James O'Breen Community Park.
The host North Stars won an intense championship game against St. Francis in a game that Pomazak said "kind of felt like a Friday night."
"We didn't start off very good [in the tournament]" Pomazak said. "We started off against Machesney Park Harlem and we didn't play very well, and I think our guys, once we got to bracket play, we really stepped up our level of competitiveness. We kind of challenged them that this is our 7-on-7, we've got to protect our area, and we want to see them compete."
Pomazak said he'd like to see the event double in size beginning in 2015.
"The goal for next year is to bump it to 16 teams, probably run it a little bit later in July so we don't bump into the West Aurora Big Butts [lineman challenge] and those types of things, but we want to double it to get to 16 teams and then every year make it grow a little bit," Pomazak said.
"We're in the works of possibly having a combine attached to it to make it a two-day event, so those are the kinds of things that we're looking for for next year. But the event was great."