- Once a Hodag, always a Hodag.
"I am so appreciative of what the community gave me when I was in the program growing up that we want to give back to that," former Hodag football player Eric Tracy said.
Former players Eric Tracy and Cole Oettinger brought a defensive skills camp to Rhinelander for the first time this summer.
"Just being able to get them to take their games to the next level and really try and succeed and put together a great season was a driving force for me here," Oettinger said.
Eric is a defensive back at Michigan Tech and Cole has helped the Hodag football team in the past.They wanted to pass on new skills on to the players who filled their shoes when they graduated.
"We were really working on their foot work, making sure their hips are pointing the right way and that they are knowing how to get out of breaks," Tracy said.
The WIAA blocks the football staff from work with the kids at the camp but Eric and Cole made sure to replicate the actual Hodag defensive systems.
"Every single call that they would have to make in a regular season game we talked to them so they what they were doing at 7 on 7 and during the season so they are head of everything else," Oettinger said.
Junior safety Jackson Labs says he's already seen a difference in summer drills
"That really went pretty smooth because of this camp, we had a couple beforehand and it's really helped," Labs said.
Labs wanted to work with the former Hodags to get a new perspective.
"My footwork is a lot more smooth so that was a big factor for me," Labs said. "We do a lot of one on ones just to compete and get after it and it's a lot of fun going against each other."
"That was the best part was just the completion. The part where we competed as a whole. Them getting after it and really getting into the little rewards we gave them each week and really wanting to do their best was awesome," Oettinger said.
The Hodag Football Team Camp starts next week.
Story By: Mazie Vincent