The Front Row with MARK NELKE July 5, 2012 - Coeur d'Alene Press: Sports

The Front Row with MARK NELKE July 5, 2012

No Vandal camp no big deal to Idaho

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Posted: Thursday, July 5, 2012 12:15 am

Robb Akey couldn't understand all the fuss last week.

Vandal officials were peppered with questions when it was revealed that the Vandal Football Camp for high school teams in the region was canceled this year.

As it turns out, the camp didn't take place in 2009 and 2010 either - with little hubbub.

"My first two years we had a camp down at our place," the Idaho head football coach said last week, at a youth football camp at Post Falls High. "The next two years, that's when the economy started (tanking), that's when we didn't have it. Last year we brought it back, see if we could get it going. It was OK numbers, and it helped us, we had some recruits come through there. This year, four of those teams bailed on us."

So Idaho canceled this year's camp, because there wasn't enough teams interested in coming "for us to get out of it what we need to get out of it," he said.

For years, the Vandal Football Camp has been an annual June stop for area high school teams. But, with money tight these days, so players didn't have to shell out as much money, schools have been getting together and scrimmaging against other area schools in various formats.

This year, some of the North Idaho and Greater Spokane League schools did just that.

"Nobody asked us about it (not having a camp) three years ago," Akey said. "I don't understand the panic. The problem is, all these schools that were coming to our camp - we had 800 kids at camp at one time - they're now practicing against each other now because it's more affordable. I understand that. We're still getting their players, so they like what we're doing. We have a great relationship here (at Post Falls), or we couldn't do this camp here."

Akey said recruiting hasn't been affected by the Vandals not having their summer camp. He also said he’s heard from players that turnout is down at other college’s camps.

“Kids are still coming by to see us,” Akey said. “It’s just the way it is in this day and time. I want it (the camp) to be a great experience.”

• Coeur d’Alene has yet to play a football game this fall — and four of its players have already been offered college scholarships.

Chase Blakley, who will be a junior this year, was offered a scholarship by the University of Washington last week while he was attending the Huskies football camp. Washington is recruiting him as a tight end.

Earlier last month, Blakley was offered a scholarship by Eastern Washington after the Eagles watched him at the Northwest Elite Football Camp in Seattle.

Earlier in the spring, junior quarterback Gunnar Amos, junior lineman Matt James and senior lineman Jeremiah Hazard received scholarship offers from Idaho State.

Mark Nelke is sports editor of The Press. He can be reached at 664-8176, Ext. 2019, or via email at mnelke@cdapress.com. Follow him on Twitter at CdAPressSports.

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