Thursday, November 23 , 2017, 12:14 am | Fair 58º

 
 
 
 
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NFL Hall of Famer Will Shields Coaches Youth at Football Camp in Santa Barbara

Former Kansas City Chiefs standout teaches skills for offensive, defensive linemen

Will Shields gives his advice to campers during the Big Picture Athletics Lineman Camp at Peabody Stadium on Tuesday afternoon. Click to view larger
Will Shields gives his advice to campers during the Big Picture Athletics Lineman Camp at Peabody Stadium on Tuesday afternoon. (JC Corliss / Noozhawk photo)

During the past two warm summer days in Santa Barbara, you may have noticed an abundance of young men dressed in athletic gear walking towards Peabody Stadium

Will Shields (left) and Santa Barbara High coach JT Stone both agree on the potential growth for football in the local community. Click to view larger
Will Shields (left) and Santa Barbara High coach JT Stone both agree on the potential growth for football in the local community. (JC Corliss / Noozhawk photo)

Considering the Dons don’t begin officially training for the upcoming football season until August, one may have wondered why several adolescents were headed to Santa Barbara High’s venerable 90-year-old football field.  

The answer was to be coached by NFL Hall of Famer Will Shields.

With a great bit of luck, Dons head coach JT Stone was able to get the 14-year pro from Kansas City to work as a guest instructor at his Big Picture Athletics Lineman Camp

“We successfully brought a quality camp for both offensive and defensive lineman,” Stone said. “With a 12-time Pro Bowler at their disposal, these kids were provided with a unique opportunity to get better and maximize their potential.”

Making his first-ever trip to Santa Barbara, Shields gave instruction to roughly 45 boys ranging from ages 7 to 17 during the two-day camp designed to improve skills for both offensive and defensive linemen.

An offensive guard, Shields played his entire career with the Kansas City Chiefs and blocked for stalwart running backs like Marcus Allen, Priest Holmes and Larry Johnson. The former Outland Trophy winner and consensus All-American from the University of Nebraska never missed a game in his professional career.

“Our goal is to build up their toolbox with different blocking schemes that they could use to their advantage,” Shields said of working with the young players. “We're also trying to teach them the correct way to play the game by utilizing their body and shoulder pads.”

Campers participate in drills during the Big Picture Athletics Lineman Camp at Peabody Stadium on Tuesday afternoon. Click to view larger
Campers participate in drills during the Big Picture Athletics Lineman Camp at Peabody Stadium on Tuesday afternoon. (JC Corliss / Noozhawk photo)

Without significant assistance from Dons varsity strength and conditioning coach Monte’ Nash, this rare event would never have transpired in the local area.

“Coach Nash is really good friends with Will, so when he reached out to us about coming to Santa Barbara to expand his camp series, it was clearly a no brainer,” said coach Stone. 

Solomon Tuliaupupu, a four-star recruit from Claremont, received valuable coaching advice from Will Shields during the two-day clinic. Click to view larger
Solomon Tuliaupupu, a four-star recruit from Claremont, received valuable coaching advice from Will Shields during the two-day clinic. (JC Corliss / Noozhawk photo)

At SBHS, youngsters trained with Shields along with a knowledgable staff full of experienced college and high school coaches. During the two-day clinic, kids went through a series of different football drills, developing essential fundamentals and vital skills necessary to improve their game. 

Among the campers, no one was more distinguishable than Solomon Tuliaupupu, a four-star recruit from Claremont High. Upon hearing that Shields would be at the camp, the No. 7 junior outside linebacker in the country according to 247 Sports immediately jumped on the opportunity to learn from a Hall of Famer.

“He coached me up on pass rushing while teaching me how to use length to my advantage,” Tuliaupupu said. “My goal is to implement his skill set into my game, so that I can have a great season next year.”

All things considered, coach Stone’s goal is to provide offseason football programs for kids in Santa Barbara. Rather than being forced to travel in order to participate in these types of camps, Stone hopes to create relevant opportunities for youth in the local community.

“I’m doing all that I can in order to provide quality camps and unique opportunities for these kids to look forward to,”coach Stone concluded. “They do it everywhere else in the country, so why not Santa Barbara?”

— Noozhawk sports reporter Blake DeVine can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @NoozhawkSports and @noozhawk. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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