One On One Kicking Invades Ouachita Baptist University
By: Zach Harig
Founded in 1886, Ouachita Baptist University is a private institution located in Arkadelphia, Arkansas. The 200 acre campus gives a small, home-town feel for the nearly 1,600 students enrolled at OBU. However, in the month of July, One On One Kicking has invaded the small university with several NFL, college, and high school specialists for training.
Every year, One On One Kicking founder, Mike McCabe, changes the location of their month-long training session. This year, the choice to hold the camp at Ouachita Baptist University was quite an easy one, according to McCabe.
“The facilities here are phenomenal, the field is always in great shape and the indoor field and weight room is amazing as well,” McCabe stated.
Ouachita Baptist University is a small Division-II school, but it brings a rich football tradition as well. In fact, the Tigers fielded their first football team in 1895 and have since won nine conference championships, including one in 2014 after a 10-0 season in the Great American Conference. Aside from the championships, which caught McCabe’s eye, the coaches are not only outstanding teachers, but outstanding people.
“The coaches are amazing people and great Christians,” McCabe stated, “They’re extremely helpful and knowledgeable about the game of football. Plus, OBU has won championship after championship and the campus is beautiful. For any athlete trying to play college football, this is the place to be.”
For the Tigers’ coaching staff, they’re extremely excited to have the specialist camp here as well. Head coach, Todd Knight, now in his fifteenth season as the Ouachita Baptist head coach, is happy to bring something different to their football program and camp season.
“We do a lot of camps here,” Knight explained, “We had over 1,000 kids here for our summer camp and we also do a skills camp for all positions except punting, kicking, and snapping, so this is icing on the cake to have Coach McCabe here. Coach McCabe and his staff bring a lot to the specialist profession and to have him here along with his NFL players, is really impressive.”
In fact, the relationship between Coach Knight and Coach McCabe is one that has been growing over the past ten years as One On One Kicking trainee and former Tiger kicker, Matt Ehasz, was All-GAC in 2013. Aside from Ehasz, fellow One On One Kicking trainee and true-freshman Cole Antley has now signed to play football for Knight and the Tigers in 2015. The at-home feel for the summer training was something that had Antley extremely excited as well.
“I was pumped when I found out One On One was coming here,” Antley said, “It’s at my college and I still get to train with some of the best kickers in the nation with an at-home feel.”
At Ouachita Baptist, the summer training included warmups every weekday morning at the indoor practice facility, a nearly 150 yard outdoor practice field along with use of the state-of-the-art and renovated Ouachita weight room. Ouachita Baptist strength and conditioning coach, Ryan Tibbets has run the daily workouts for the One On One trainees throughout the month of July, including training of the NFL players, which is something he won’t take for granted.
“It’s been a great experience seeing how they come in to train and attack their workouts,” Tibbets stated on the NFL trainees, “They aren’t just going through the motions, they’re working hard every day, which is great for me to focus on teaching technique rather than the effort aspect.”
Another benefit for the Tigers is to watch their specialists grow through the training of Coach McCabe and his coaching staff. Aside from freshman kicker, Cole Antley, the Tigers have two long snappers training with One On One Kicking and snapping coach, Jesse Medrano as well.
“The coaching of Coach McCabe and his staff takes a lot of pressure off of us,” head coach Todd Knight laughed, “As good of a job as we think we do coaching college football – kicking, punting, and long snapping is a forgotten art. For me, I’m growing as a coach just learning from them about the position and what it takes technique-wise as well. It’s a great situation for us.”
As Coach Knight puts it, specialists are forgotten about, as are their techniques. In college football, no matter the level, the kickers and punters are ignored. At OBU, the One On One Kicking camp has allowed their coaches to get accustomed to how to work with kickers and punters, even when someone like Coach McCabe isn’t around to explain it.
“I’ve learned so much from all of the coaches here so far,” Ouachita Baptist strength and conditioning coach, Ryan Tibbets explained, “I’ll be able to help Cole (Antley) out once they leave and they’ve been great mentors for me. I can send them film at any time and can talk to them about anything,” he continued.
The relationship between Ouachita Baptist Football and One On One Kicking has grown tremendously over July and has truly benefitted both sides. For the Tigers, their coaching staff gets exposed to specialists and their techniques unlike a lot of other coaching staffs in the entire country. Aside from that, the training freshman kicker Cole Antley and the Tigers snappers are receiving is unparalleled.
“Coach Knight has always known I’m a pretty decent kicker, but he has already seen growth and improvement from me,” said Antley, a One On One Kicking trainee and new OBU kicker.
For Coach McCabe and One On One, the use of the wonderful facilities and outstanding film room has allowed them to train and go over film. The film room is used to adjust techniques with their trainees and correct mistakes in form and posture. The dormitories have also housed the trainees and coaches for the month of July while the dining hall has been a great asset to the campers. The small, yet vibrant, campus has provided an excellent experience for campers, coaches and One On One Kicking couldn’t be more thankful to be at the university.