The Manning Passing Academy rolled through Nicholls State University this past week — swallowing up literally every, single blade of grass on the campus throughout the week.
Truly, we could have dedicated our entire sports section this week to the camp and some of the side stories that come from all of the interviews with camp counselors.
But, given our limited space, we decided to do something a little different this year and create a couple of different stories all wrapped into one.
So here is our Manning Passing Academy story from 2019 — all wrapped into a nice, neat little bow.
It was a great week for football fans locally, and the weather remained mostly dry — a rarity for the long-standing event.
THIBODAUX AGAIN A WINNER
The Manning Family year-in and year-out touts the city of Thibodaux as a gracious host for the event, but it’s not just lip service — they actually mean it.
At this year’s event, the Manning family again remained supportive of Nicholls State University and the people of Thibodaux for helping put on a successful event.
The Manning Passing Academy hosts more than 1,000 campers each year. Some come with parents or relatives, which spills over into hotels and area businesses. The camp also utilizes some of the best collegiate quarterbacks in the country as counselors, which adds some star power to the already prominent event.
All-in-all, economic studies show the event has given back millions to the local economy, and Archie Manning said the city hosts the event in stride without an issue.
“They’ve been so good to us,” Archie Manning said. “We can’t thank the people enough. It’s truly a great partnership.”
But the camp counselors love it, too.
Collegiate quarterbacks said that they think the Manning Passing Academy is one of the best weekends of the year — a sort-of “football vacation” before the start of summer practices leading up to the fall season.
Among those attending this year were Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert, Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence, Notre Dame’s Ian Book and, of local flare, LSU quarterback Joe Burrow.
“It’s been a great week,” Herbert said. “Truly, it’s a blessing to be here learning from these guys and visiting with these great people.”
BURROW SAYS LSU OFFENSE WILL SHINE
LSU fans — hold onto your seats.
Burrow said the Tigers’ offense will be lethal in 2019.
The LSU quarterback said the Tigers’ passing attack will come to life next season, thanks to a little continuity within the offense and also a few tweaks in scheme.
LSU returns literally all of its wide receivers from last season and also Burrow, a poised playmaker who brought some toughness and grit to the position for the Tigers.
Coach Ed Orgeron also hired New Orleans Saints assistant coach Joe Brady in the offseason to try and modernize the team’s passing skeleton — a change that has LSU fans excited.
“Our offense is looking good, man,” Burrow said. “You know, it’s different. At LSU, we’ve always been that kind of grind it out team. But this year, we think we’re going to be able to score some points. It’s exciting. I know people are really looking forward to the season, and we’re looking forward to it just as much.”
Burrow said he thinks the Tigers will spread the field and use short, quick passes (like the Saints) to put their athletes in space.
But the quarterback said the Tigers will also keep their physical approach and will be able to run the ball aggressively, if necessary.
FOURCADE READY FOR 1 MORE RIDE
This is Nicholls quarterback Chase Fourcade’s last offseason as Nicholls’ starting quarterback.
He admits — time flies when you’re having fun. But he also knows that there’s a lot of unfinished business in Thibodaux this fall.
Fourcade said the Colonels are ready for the 2019 season after two-straight playoff appearances and last year’s Southland Conference Title.
He said this year’s Nicholls team will have some new pieces on the field, but added that the team is hungry and ready to compete and defend their Southland Title, while also trying to earn a National Title.
“It’s exciting,” Fourcade said. “I think every season has its own challenges, but with this season, it’s my last year here, so I want to play as hard as I can without any regrets. I’m ready to get started. It’s going to be a fun year.”
Fourcade has been a counselor at the camp many years since arriving at Nicholls. He said soaking in the knowledge from the Manning family is invaluable and allows him to be a better passer in the fall.