Vail Summer Football Camp returns in July |

Vail Summer Football Camp returns in July

Tom Backhus's Vail Summer Football Camp returns in July. Backhus is a former national championship player at Ohio State, and college coach
Special to the Daily |

If you go ...

What: Vail Summer Football Camp

When: July 13-16

Where: Battle Mountain High School’s Huckies Stadium

Price: $100, with discounts for multiple teammates registering together

To register: Go to, call Tom Backhus at 970-471-0440, or email

Information: Camp is held in two sessions, a morning session for kids 2nd through 5th grade, and an afternoon session for 6th through 12th graders.

Video of individual 6-12th grade players will be reviewed daily with the players and coaches after practice.

A certified athletic trainer will be on the field throughout the camp

It is a non-pad, non-hitting camp based on technique work, agility drills and a better understanding of the game

Coaches so far

Mike Bobo, head coach, Colorado State University

Troy Calhoun, head coach, U.S. Air Force Academy.

Russ Martin, head coach, Colorado Mesa University

Earnest Collins, head coach, University of Northern Colorado

Jas Bain, head coach, Western State

Gregg Brandon, head coach, Colorado School of Mines

Tom Backhus, former national championship player at Ohio State under Woody Hayes, coach at Ohio State, Notre Dame and the U.S. Air Force Academy

Brian Cabral, assistant head coach/defensive coordinator, Indiana State University

Al Simmons, secondary coach, University of New Mexico

Trevor Wikre, offensive line coach, University of Northern Colorado

Darian Hagen, director of player development, University of Colorado. Former quarterback for the Buffs national championship team, former professional players and CU quarterback coach

The state’s top college head coaches headline this year’s Vail Summer Football Camp roster, topped by two of Colorado’s Division I programs.

Air Force Academy coach Troy Calhoun returns and is joined by new Colorado State University coach Mike Bobo.

“We now have six head coaches coming from around the state of Colorado. There’s not another camp out there that even comes close to this kind of camp instruction and exposure to coaches,” said Tom Backhus, former national championship player and Division I coach, who has run the camp for two decades.

It’s all about instruction

The four-day camp features non-pad technique instruction, and youth coaches are invited to come to the camp and be on the field to pick the brains of the college coaches during the camp, Backhus said.

“That’s open to coaches at any level, youth leagues, middle school, high school — any coach at any level,” Backhus said. “Coaches can ask questions about technique and training, drills and anything else while players are getting excellent instruction from top-flight coaches.”

The camp breaks attendees into two sessions for players in second through fifth grades and sixth through 12th.

Every player plays every position in the session for the younger kids.

“Even the short kids get to play quarterback, and that’s something I completely understand,” said Backhus, who won a national championship at Ohio State and played under Woody Hayes. Backhus also coached at the Air Force Academy and Notre Dame.

The practices for the older kids are broken down into positions and videoed, and they finish the session by watching those videos to improve their technique, Backhus said.

The younger kids go in the morning, the older kids in the afternoon.

About the coaches

CSU has ascended to the nation’s top echelon of college football programs during the past two years. Bobo recently took the reins of the program.

Calhoun has made the Air Force Academy football program one of the best in the Mountain West Conference. Air Force posted three straight losing seasons from 2004-06 before his arrival. His teams have posted the most MWC wins in the school’s history in a seven-year span.

Brian Cabral is the Indiana State head coach and the University of Colorado’s former linebackers coach.

Darian Hagan quarterbacked the University of Colorado to its only national championship in 1990. Hagan became the sixth player in NCAA Division I-A to gain more than 1,000 yards passing and more than 1,000 yards rushing in the same season. After his professional playing career, he settled in as CU’s director of player development.

Backhus started his coaching career on Hayes’ Ohio State staff and continued coaching there when Earle Bruce took over as the head coach after Hayes retired.

Backhus followed Bruce to coach on the staffs at the University of Tampa and then Iowa State. Backhus left Bruce when he went to the University of Wisconsin.

Bill Parcells hired Backhus at the U.S. Air Force Academy to be the Cadets’ offensive line coach, and eventually the offensive coordinator.

After the Air Force Academy, Backhus coached at Notre Dame.

He landed in Vail after the Notre Dame stint. He started visiting the valley when he was with the Air Force Academy.

When he left coaching, he moved to the valley full-time. Among other things, he and his wife Tess ran 4 Eagle Ranch in Wolcott.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and

Support Local Journalism