Harbaugh tells campers ‘football’s never been safer than it is now’ – Detroit Free Press

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Michigan defensive analyst Devin Bush Sr. watched three campers backpedal. Not liking what he saw, the former NFL safety turned around and animatedly demonstrated the drill himself.

The kids observed, then gave it their best shot. They were too young to get offered by Michigan — the camp was for kids between the second and seventh grades — but Bush gave them tutelage as if they were high school recruits.

Saturday, the Michigan football coaching staff spent one of its final days in Ann Arbor before a month-long satellite camp tour hosting a football camp for the youth of Washtenaw County.

Coaches such as Bush and offensive analyst Antonio (Bam) Richards spent their time leading kids through drills before former Michigan wide receiver Ron Bellamy gave a presentation on the importance of youth football.

And after Bellamy’s presentation ended, the main attraction strolled into Oosterbaan Field House.

Head coach Jim Harbaugh spoke to the campers and their parents for a few minutes, stressing the importance of playing football.

“Don’t know of any other sport that requires toughness, courage, discipline, being on time, teaching youngsters to be a part of a team,” Harbaugh said. “So many good things come from being on a football team.

“There’s a lot of people attacking football these days, talking about it being too rough of a sport or too tough. I feel like there’s a real prejudice against football at all levels. But there’s just a misconception about football. … Football’s never been safer than it is now with the rule changes and technique changes.”

Harbaugh ended the camp by handing the microphone to Sharon Hardy — the mother of highly-touted football recruit Dorian Hardy, a 2018 defensive end from New Jersey on an unofficial visit to Michigan this weekend.

He asked the parents in attendance — especially any mothers who had safety concerns — if they had any questions for Hardy, before leaving Oosterbaan swarmed by kids seeking autographs and pictures.

Afterward, he spoke more about the reasons for holding the camp.

Last year, Michigan held a meeting with youth and high school coaches instead of camp.

Harbaugh said that he wanted to hold a camp specifically for local kids because of his experience of playing youth football in Ann Arbor, along with a general desire to introduce kids to the fundamentals of the game.

“Any time we have a camp, the main objective is we want to introduce people to football and have them learn two or three things,” Harbaugh explained. “How to properly tackle, safety, different techniques and fundamentals, those are our objectives. We want them to have a healthy, productive experience playing football.”

Harbaugh did not comment on U-M’s upcoming satellite camp tour.

“It’s not on us to advertise which camps we’re going to,” Harbaugh said when asked if Michigan would still co-host a football camp in Waco, Texas, with the Baylor football coaching staff. Earlier this week, ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” received reports of allegations of sexual assault and domestic violence against Baylor football players.

Harbaugh also did not comment on the total number of camps Michigan will attend. There are currently 38 scheduled for the month of June, including two in American Samoa and one each in Hawaii and Australia.

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