Work in Sports
Giants sport good grub, good drills
This is the fifth in a series of postcards Sports Illustrated's Peter King will e-mail from his annual NFL training-camp tour.
Saturday, July 22
TEAM: New York Giants
SITE: University at Albany, a campus 135 miles north of the Meadowlands that looks like a '70s office park with some meadows and nice athletic facilities. The Danes have just gone Division I in most sports, and there's already a buzz about the date with Syracuse in basketball at the Pepsi Arena in downtown Albany come 2001.
OPINION/FACTOID THAT MIGHT BE INTERESTING ONLY TO ME: Left tackle Lomas Brown of the Giants is such a nice man that he waded into a sea of kids after the morning practice and signed autographs endlessly, including about 15 for four- and five-year olds who had grabbed credit-card applications because they could find no other paper.
THE FOOD: Bountiful. Superb. Tasty. Annually the Giants have some of the best training-camp fare of any team in any sport.
The menu today, with grades:
Real, legit breast of turkey ... A Green beans ... A Romaine-and-carrot salad, with Ken's Italian dressing ... B+ Fresh fruit salad ... A 500-ML bottle of Evian ... A
Maybe it's because I ate at 1:40 p.m., and the only thing I'd had all day was a 6:35 a.m. sesame bagel. But this meal, compared to the others on the current trip, was peerless. Take the fruit salad. Fresh blackberries and raspberries. Heavenly cantaloupe. The string beans were not overcooked. (You hear that, Lehigh?) The turkey was a tad dry, but that's how you know it's real turkey. Turkey's not supposed to be an ice-cream cone. I marked off the salad slightly because of the paucity of ingredients. (No radishes, onions.) And though I did not partake, there is an ice cream/yogurt bar here that should not be missed.
Dear NFL Junkie:
Giants' camp, 9:43 a.m., breezy Saturday morning:
Sometimes you see things in NFL camps and you say: "Hey, that's a pretty smart idea." That's what I said this morning when I saw veteran tight ends coach Mike Pope working with his four tight ends -- Howard Cross, Adam Young, Mark Thomas and Dan Campbell. Pope gave Campbell and Cross footballs, each with five feet of rope attached. He handed the end of Cross' rope to Young, and the end of Campbell's rope to Thomas. He had Cross cradle the football and begin running, and he said: "Adam, you start tugging on the rope. Get the ball away from him! Pull hard!" They did it again. Young yanked. Cross lost it. "I'm not sure I like this drill," Cross said. Pope then made his point to his charges: "Hey, this is what defenses get paid to do. We cannot fumble." Thomas and Campbell did it a few times. Smart coach, smart drill.
They followed with 10 minutes more of quick ball reaction drills. Pope would yell: "Down!" and the player would fall to the ground, and just as he'd be coming up, Pope would fire a pass from 10 yards away over the guy's head. To get it, the player would have be very quick, with very good hands. Just a snapshot of a team working to get ready.
Check back soon for more postcards from camp. Next: Baltimore (Tuesday).