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Camp run by Minnesota Viking Phil Loadholt makes impression on Fountain football players

June 27, 2013 Updated: June 27, 2013 at 6:20 pm
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photo - Fountain-Fort Carson graduate and current Minnesota Viking offensive tackle Phil Loadholt, left, jumps out of the way as Tracy Hancock attempts to break past J.R. Richardson to hit the pad during a drill at the first Phil Loadholt Football Camp at Fountain-Fort Carson Thursday, June 27, 2013. Michael Ciaglo, The Gazette
Fountain-Fort Carson graduate and current Minnesota Viking offensive tackle Phil Loadholt, left, jumps out of the way as Tracy Hancock attempts to break past J.R. Richardson to hit the pad during a drill at the first Phil Loadholt Football Camp at Fountain-Fort Carson Thursday, June 27, 2013. Michael Ciaglo, The Gazette 

FOUNTAIN - Josh Richardson crouched down in his stance at left tackle. At the snap of the drill he blocked his defender as best he could.

Then the big man gave him a few words of advice.

Richardson looked up - way up - nodded and went back to wait his turn. Next time up he tried to put that advice to work.

When Minnesota Vikings offensive tackle Phil Loadholt tells you what to do to be a better football player, you listen.

"He was giving me good advice," said Richardson, who will be a Fountain-Fort Carson senior in the fall. "And every little thing he told me I did out there, and I already feel like I improved as a player. I'm ready to see what I learn tomorrow."

Richardson was one of about 180 kids attending the morning session of the Phil Loadholt Football Camp at Fountain-Fort Carson on Thursday. There was an afternoon session for younger kids and two more planned for Friday. The camp, put on for the first time, welcomed District 8 students and kids of military families, and was free for all participants.

Loadholt, whose parents live in Fountain, put the camp on in conjunction with Mitch Johnson, who coached Loadholt and still coaches the Trojans.

"This is just a way for him to come back and give back to his community, to take care of the kids who have dreams like he did when he was here," Johnson said. "His heart is as big as his body is. ... What a great opportunity. We're hoping to make this an annual thing."

For the Vikings tackle who just signed a four-year, $25 million contract to stay in Minnesota, it was a chance to show kids what they can achieve.

"We didn't have it like this," said Loadholt, who at 6-foot-8, 343 pounds was easily the biggest man on the field, including his Vikings teammates who helped instruct at the camp. "I think it says a lot to them just to let them know I came from the same place, played on the same field; some of the same things they're doing, I've done them too."

Loadholt was surprised at the participation number, which was estimated to be a total of about 300 kids.

"This is great to have this many kids," he said. "Everybody was real into it."

Richardson was one of those who was definitely into it.

"It seems like he really cares about where he came from," Richardson said. "He just wants to see everybody get better. It's pretty cool. They're going to pay for this and they're going to be teaching this to me, I'm really thankful for that."

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