MISSOULA, Mont. - When it comes to the gridiron, young athletes almost always start with the dream of one day playing in the NFL. Two of last year's Griz linebackers reached that goal this year and the Montana natives are eager to pass on their knowledge of the game to the next generation of NFL hopefuls in the treasure state.
For the past two years, Frenchtown native and Access Fitness personal trainer Doug Lefler has organized a regional football combine at the high school field in Ronan to help out local athletes.
"Yeah, we're just trying to teach younger kids to think higher and bigger goals and stuff, create a mindset that they can go do what Tripp did," said Lefler. "It brought a lot of attention with him getting to go to the combine, so we just want to allow kids to start thinking that down the road. You know, somewhere that they want to go too."
Last year, Griz linebackers Brock Coyle and Jordan Tripp both volunteered at the football combine. This year as NFL pros, they made time to come back and help out once again.
"Yeah you know, when Doug called me and asked if I would do it, I jumped on it right away just to come back to Montana and again, to give back to the kids," said Coyle.
"It's awesome to be out here with the kids, with Doug and Brock to see everybody again and see some familiar faces and just kind of get this ball rolling," said Tripp. "Maybe develop a camp that we can do every single year. Just get it bigger and bigger."
Both Coyle and Tripp know the importance of these combine skills and say teaching the proper techniques will benefit the athletes down the road.
"Yeah you know, the earlier you can lay down a foundation of fundamentals and just continually improve on those, the better off you're going to be," said Tripp. "So to have that opportunity for us to come back and help out, it's fantastic. Because I remember when I was a little kid, like I always say, and being able to be on the other side of the spectrum now, it's awesome to be able to come back and help out."
"Ultimately, that's what we are trying to do, just really trying to help them become better athletes on the football field," said Coyle. "Then eventually when they hopefully do these tests again, they have an idea of what to do. But ultimately, we just want these kids to be better athletes and help them be better at whatever sport they're doing. I remember when I was in their shoes as a little kid just really wanting to come out and have fun and just play the game and just do everything to get better at the game. So it's fun to come out and give back to the kids and just have a good time."
For the high school athletes their times and marks from today's combine can be shared with college coaches throughout the country to help them get a shot at the next level.
- Copyright ©2016 by KECI, KCFW, KTVM. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
- KECI Gas prices take slight dip around Missoula
- KECI Missoula to show public how election process works
- KTVM Success of hunting season weather dependent: FWP
- KECI Opening weekend of rifle hunting season comes to a close