The whistles and commands emanating from the playing field behind the American Legion Hall in Severna Park yesterday were distinct soundsof the gridiron.
However, upon closer survey, it was clear that the scene was incomplete.
"Where's the football?" an onlooker asked.
Bryan Brouse, a Severna Park resident and the director of the county's inaugural Football Lineman's Camp, shrugged his shoulders, smiled and replied, "What for? These guys are linemen."
Such is the life of the men in the trenches.
The seven-day camp, which began Sunday and runs through Saturday, has attracted 33 high school-age athletes who have chosen to spend a week of their summer vacation focusing on the fundamentals and techniques of offensive and defensive line play.
The non-contactclinic, which runs daily from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., is divided into two two-hour practice sessions, with the morning practice focusing on run blocking/tackling and the latter session devoted to pass blocking/pass rushing.
Brouse, 34, who played football at Annapolis High under the late Al Laramore, started the camp "to give something back to the county."
He said he was hoping the camp would prove beneficial to all county schools, but noticed a high turnout from Severna Park, Broadneck and Old Mill.
"I know a lot of county coaches, and I flat-out asked a bunch of them what I can do to help Anne Arundel County football," said Brouse. "We were talking about running a camp forevery position, but I thought that would be just like every other camp, and you're not really going to accomplish a lot in a week, so we decided to specialize."
Lunch is provided for the athletes each day, and during that time they consume both the necessary nutrients andthe pertinent information they will someday need to get into college.
"Whether you're a first-year player or going into your senior year, it doesn't matter," said Brouse, the head coach of the Naval Academy's lightweight football team. "Not only did we want to expose themto the techniques and fundamentals of line play, but we wanted to expose them to the recruiting process colleges go through."
Area high school coaches and college coaches from Salisbury, Frostburg, JohnsHopkins, Georgetown and Montgomery-Rockville are scheduled to make daily visits to instruct the student-athletes both on and off the field.
Off the field, their primary focus is academics.
"We're trying to let them know what they have to do as a football player to be more marketable to colleges by the time they hit their senior year," said Brouse, who formerly served as offensive coordinator at Towson State University.
"It always stems around academics. Hopefully, they'll be able to put it together, and they're going to be a much betterpackage by their senior year."
Southern High senior Dave Sisas was a second-team All-County defensive lineman last season. He hopes the individual attention he has received at the camp will boost him to first-team status, and ultimately, turn the heads of college scouts.
"The camp has helped me with a lot of my defensive techniques, butwhat it's helped me with the most has been my confidence," said Sisas, a 6-foot-2, 215-pound guard. "The coaches are great. They've givenme a lot of helpful hints.
"It's hard to get college scouts to come to Southern because it's such a small school. We have a lot of good athletes on our team, but you tell someone you play for Southern and they say, 'Southern? Where's Southern?' That's why my coaches kept telling me to go to camps."
At 6-2, 245 pounds, Severna Park's LexKorwek knows he has the size to play for any high school football team. But as a sophomore, he understands that it takes much more to make the varsity.
"I'm just trying to refine my skills and improve myfootwork," said Korwek, a member of the Falcons' junior varsity lastseason. "I'm just trying to get in shape and improve my chances of making the varsity."
The timing of the camp allows all the players to get a jump not only on the competition, but on their teammates, aswell. Brouse says he believes the season's proximity is another factor that will make the camp popular.
"If they keep running and keepworking out and doing the things we're doing here, they're going to be far ahead of everyone else," he said. "That's what they're here for.
"This is a work camp. There's no touring of the facilities and there are no coaches here trying to recruit. You're just coming here to get better."