When Brian Kelly’s Fighting Irish open training camp in less than ten days, they won’t be doing it on the familiar LaBar Practice Fields on campus. Kelly announced they’ll spend the first days of fall camp in Marion, Indiana at the Shiloh Park Retreat and Conference Center, getting out of town for a few days before returning to campus to begin full contact drills.
“I’m excited to take our football team to a facility like Shiloh Park,” Kelly said in a released statement. “Training camp is vital in terms of developing team unity, character, camaraderie and ultimately a focused and specific identity for the upcoming season. We instituted a similar type off-site program for training camp at the University of Cincinnati and it played a huge role in the success of our team.”
After a tumultuous offseason, pulling the team together away from the early media attention and monotony of campus sounds like a good idea. (After all, it worked for Denzel Washington in Remember the Titans.) It’ll give the team’s natural leadership, with captains still yet to be announced, work itself out. Just as important, it’ll help focus a football team with lofty aspirations, even with the loss of quarterback Everett Golson.
Marion is 100 miles south of Notre Dame and Shiloh Park features a challenge course with climbing walls, zip lines, leaps of faith and other team building activities. (I’ll be very disappointed if the FIDM videos don’t get some good footage of this.)