Wednesday, July 06, 2022

Davis Mills: Pep Hamilton brings out the best in quarterbacks


Posted by Charean Williams on July 4, 2022, 11:11 PM EDT


The Texans believe in Davis Mills. Or they at least have seen enough to want to see more of him this season.

The Texans didn’t sign a veteran to compete with Mills for the starting job, and they didn’t draft one. The way Mills played as a rookie won him a chance in 2022 to see if he is the team’s franchise quarterback.

Mills, 23, has a better roster around him this season.

He also now has Pep Hamilton as his offensive coordinator.

“I mean, he’s just a great coach all together,” Mills told John Hunter Crumpler of USA Today on Saturday. “He’s been in the position and done it at a high level for a long time and been around some great quarterbacks and helped them become great quarterbacks. He played quarterback himself and will still come out and sling the ball around at practice to show us what needs to be done.”

Mills played at Stanford. Hamilton worked with another former Stanford quarterback in 2014 with the Colts as Andrew Luck passed for a career-high 40 touchdowns and led the team to the AFC Championship Game.

“He wants the best out of us and we push him as well to give us his best everyday,” Mills said. “We’re all pretty tight in the QB room, and we’re excited to see what’s next this year.”


Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Hawkeyes join the fun, rally for Reid


Steve Batterson

Jun 24, 2022 

Participants in the morning session of the Rally for Reid football camp pose for a photo, Friday, June 24, 2022, at

Assumption High School in Davenport.



It was a challenge to tell who was having more fun Friday at the Rally for Reid Football Camp — the group of about 600 participants or the former Iowa football players who volunteered their time as coaches.

"To see the smiles on the kids’ faces as they’re out running around having fun with football, that’s what it’s about," said Tampa Bay offensive tackle Tristan Wirfs, who flew in from Florida to participate in the camp for the second straight year.

"It’s good to see some former teammates and be a part of something that benefits a great cause, too."

The second annual camp organized by Los Angeles Rams safety and Davenport native Jake Gervase was held at the Jack and Pat Bush Stadium at Assumption High School, where the new turf provided plenty of room for participants in each of three sessions to work with coaches as they rotated through a series of drills spread across the field.

The first 90-minute session attracted 195 participants and was designed for kids entering kindergarten through second grade this fall. Sessions followed for a group of 255 entering third through fifth grade and a final group encompassing sixth through ninth grades.

"With the younger kids, we want them to just have fun with the game, and as we work our way up, the focus becomes a little more on the fundamentals," Gervase said.

All proceeds from the camp and an online auction of items including jerseys and game-worn cleats from former Hawkeyes benefit the Rally for Reid Foundation, which supports pediatric cancer research and helps Iowa families who are directly impacted by pediatric cancer.

Gervase’s work in setting up the first camp helped raise $70,000 for the foundation a year ago, and he believes this year’s camp will top that.

The camp is named after Reid Gleeson, the first-born son of Megan and Bill Gleeson who battled pediatric cancer before dying nearly two years ago at the age of five.

Megan Gleeson now serves as the executive director of the Rally for Reid Foundation, working to help other families who find themselves in a similar situation and assist in research efforts.

In addition to the football, the foundation hosted a Rally for Reid Spirit Camp on the St. Ambrose campus Friday which attracted 150 youngsters who learned cheer and dance routines from former Iowa and current St. Ambrose spirit and dance squad members.

"It warms my heart to see people out here doing the things Reid loved, so full of energy," Megan Gleeson said between sessions at the football camp. "We’re so thankful for the Hawkeyes who volunteer their time and travel here to make this a special day."

Minnesota Vikings quarterback Nate Stanley was one of the coaches at the camp for a second year.

"I saw a year ago how special of an event this is and to help raise money for pediatric cancer research, I’m honored to help out," said Stanley, who threw passes to youths at one of the drill stations. "Jake was a teammate and he’s put a lot of work into this. It’s a great camp for a great cause."

Reid Gleeson’s treatment included a stay at the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital, where Iowa football players have traditionally visited with young patients and families.

The connections are real and long lasting.

Jordan Canzeri, a running back who ran for 2,073 yards during his Hawkeye career from 2011-15, traveled from his home state of New York to help at the camp.

Canzeri said he still visits a family whose youngster he met at the hospital during his playing career.

"After their son passed away, I’ve stayed in contact and they become friends," Canzeri said.

He sees those connections as a byproduct of what Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz and his staff have traditionally taught Hawkeye players beyond the sport.

"Football has provided us with a platform to be involved in more than a game," Canzeri said. "That is something coach Ferentz believes in and teaches and the ability to work to make a difference is something we carry with us for the rest of our lives."

Several Hawkeyes who completed their eligibility last fall, offensive lineman Kyler Schott and defensive backs Dane Belton and Jack Koerner, were among coaches at the camp.

They were joined by linebackers Ben Niemann, Nick Niemann and Pat Angerer, tight end Parker Hesse, defensive tackle Jack Heflin, offensive linemen Austin Blythe and Matt Nelson and fullback Austin Kelly in working with camp participants.

"This is something special, a little bit of what Iowa football is all about," said Heflin, a Prophetstown, Ill., native who made the Green Bay Packers roster a year ago as an undrafted free agent. "It’s a great cause and the chance to work with some kids, that’s special, too."

Austin Blythe leads a drill during the second annual Rally for Reid football camp, Friday, June 24, 2022, in Davenport.


Austin Blythe leads a drill during the second annual Rally for Reid football camp, Friday, June 24, 2022, in Davenport.


Former Hawkeye Austin Blythe breaks kids out of a huddle at the Rally for Reid football camp, Friday, June 24, 2022, at Assumption High School in Davenport.


Friday, June 24, 2022

NFL’s Sargent comes home to give back to community


June 24, 2022

During the 2021 Key West Summer Youth Football Camp, Alvin Howard worked with older players on pass receiving. He is scheduled to work with youth this weekend.
RON COOKE/The Citizen

Aspiring local youth football players have the chance to work out this weekend at two different clinics with National Football League running back and Key West native Mekhi Sargent.



On Friday, June 24, from 9 a.m. to noon, the prolific ball carrier, in conjunction with the Boys & Girls Club of the Keys, will hold the first Mekhi Sargent Football Campaign.


Close to 100 members of the area clubs, ages 5 to 14, will learn basic football skills at George Mira Football Field from Sargent and a group of former Key West High School players.


“Being able to partner with the Boys & Girls Club is something that is very exciting to me,” Sargent stated in a news release. “The Boys & Girls Club is a very special organization that does great work, and being able to use the platform that I now have to work with their kids and bring smiles to their faces is very humbling.”


Sargent said it has been a dream to return to Key West, where he grew up playing in the Junior Football League and went on to great things as an All-American while playing for the Conchs and a successful collegiate career that catapulted him into pro football with the Tennessee Titan, Los Angeles Rams and now the Jacksonville Jaguars.


“This is the first time since I’ve been a professional athlete that I have been able to return to Key West and begin my legacy of community outreach. It’s just the first of many community engagements we will be doing,” stated Sargent. “We have some big plans that we will be announcing soon, and I look forward to being able to get the entire community involved in our initiatives.”

The following day, Saturday, June 25, Sargent will make a guest appearance at the second annual Free Summer Football Camp from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. also at the George Mira Field, for ages 6 to 18.

The first 50 registered will receive a camp T-shirt, said organizer Miguel Gonzalez, who lined up a group of former Key West and collegiate players and local coaches to teach the players the finer points of football.

“I’ve got high school and HOB coaches and former players,” Gonzalez said. “We’ve got J.P. Garcia, Kentrell Freeman, Devin Barber, Jeremiah Osborne, Carson Hughes, Garett Hughes, Alvin Howard, Reid Grissinger, Dorian Cannon, and Mekhi will be there.”

For information about the second annual Key West Football Camp on Saturday, contact Gonzalez at 305-684-6727.

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