Bulldogs eye start of 2014 campaign as summer camp begins this week.

National Football League training camps begin later this month.
The first college football game of the season is about 50 days away.

And less than a month from now Missouri’s high school football programs will open practice.

The Rolla High School football squad continues its preparation this week, with the start of the Bulldog Football Camp.

The camp began Monday and runs through Friday and again from July 14-18 at Lions Memorial Field. Following the final session the Bulldogs will compete in the Sullivan Full-Contact Camp, to be held on Friday, July 18 (6 p.m. at Sullivan High School).

High school programs then take a couple weeks off before preseason practice for Missouri prep teams begins Monday, Aug. 4. The first RHS practice will be 3:30 p.m. Aug. 4 at Lions Memorial Field.

The Bulldogs are scheduled to compete in the St. Clair Jamboree on Aug. 15 and open their schedule Aug. 22, hosting Ozark Conference foe Lebanon at Lions Memorial Field.

On Monday there were around 90 campers from grades 8-12 on hand for the Bulldog Camp. The eighth- and ninth-graders were separated and were run through drills by the junior high coaches, while the campers in grades 10-12 were with the high school staff.

“We have a few high school kids still on vacation and a couple visiting colleges,” said RHS head coach Willie Howard, whose squad is trying to bounce back from a 1-9 campaign during 2013. “But we’re pleased with what we have. We have a big number of junior high kids, which is promising.”

The RHS players have already been busy throughout the summer, with conditioning drills and the summer sessions allowed by the Missouri State High School Activities Association (MSHSAA), which includes participation in 7-on-7 passing activities against other schools.

The Bulldogs can begin using full pads at camp on Friday. From then on, it will be basically preparing for the 2014 campaign.

“This is the time for us to find out what we have,” Howard said. “Find out where we’re at as a football team.

“During the summer we did a nice job. But two-hand touch is different from tackle football.”

And just a couple of weeks before practice begins, players are wanting to make late impressions on their position coaches during the camp weeks.

“That’s what we’re preaching to the kids - there are a lot of jobs open,” Howard said. “No one’s safe. We’re looking to get our best 11 on the field at all times.”