Former Giants’ showcase helps send NJ players to the NFL
Roman Oben was an offensive tackle for the New York Giants from 1996-99. After his playing days ended, he went on to become the NFL vice president of youth and high school football.
Oben will be bringing his "Roman Soldier's Football Showcase" to the Iron Peak Sports and events center in Hillsborough on Sunday, April 3.
Roman's Soldiers is designed to display the talents of area high school football players in the areas of football fundamentals and speed development, while also teaching valuable life-skills lessons about the importance of hard work, dedication, goal setting and teamwork.
Roman joined me on New Jersey 101.5, you can listen On-Demand starting @ 1:02:48
"I started the showcase back in 2012 as a way to help kids get acclimated to the winter training time period," he said. "We don't have great weather up north in February and March but you start seeing a lot of kids training and doing position-specific work and not as much track and wrestling. So I created this program so that kids can just get ready for the camp season."
There will be over two hours of instruction led by some of the area’s top coaches. Participants will take part in speed development, position drill improvement, and one-one competition. Top participants have received recognition in nationally regarded high school publications used by colleges as a talent resource.
Have any of the Roman Soldiers athletes gone to the NFL?
"There's a guy named Rashan Gary (Green Bay Packers linebacker)," says Oben. "Anthony Brown, a Boston College quarterback, transferred to Oregon. There's been a ton of Division I guys who have come through there. Ihmir-Smith Marsette, who played for the Vikings, out of Newark. There have been some Jersey kids who represent in the NFL draft."
What do coaches most look for from high school players?
"I think it's a size, speed and range game," says Oben. "And you look at the way high school kids are used, I always joke around that every undersized receiver isn't Wes Welker and every shorter defensive lineman isn't Aaron Donald but I think as long as kids are maximizing their size and speed, you just have to be able to run."
Oben talked about the NFL Combine:
"You look at some of the combine times in February, I was at the combine. It's bigger, faster, stronger every year."
What are college coaches looking for?
"The first thing a college coach is going to look at are his grades and his transcripts." says Oben.
What got Oben involved in helping kids?
"I got involved because I'd got done playing in 2008. I looked at my second grader, I looked at my pre-Kindergartener and asked how can I make this world better for them? So my boys really inspired me to just want to get involved in the business so I ran camps, clinics, going back to 2011,2012 when I started doing the showcase."
How do you coach your kids?
"I try to go on the journey with them. It's what's called right age right stage development. When they're in second grade treat them like a second-grader, don't treat them like a fifth-grader because they're taller than everyone else."
What about "burnout"?
"A lot of athletes do a lot of training, a lot of multiple teams in one season, you don't want a kid who gets to high school and they don't want to do it anymore or they don't want to do it in college, and they're good enough to do it in college. So you've got to make sure that they're nurturing and that you're doing the things that they want to do and you're just giving them guidance."
Oben was once a Giants analyst on WWOR-TV. How does he think the Giants will do this year?
"This is the third coach in five years. You had all those years of Coughlin and you've had some stability at the position," says Oben. "The Giants are a great organization so I want them to do well and I think they got it right this time. Whatever that equates in the win category, you can't go 8-8 anymore. That's one thing with the 17-game schedule, you either got to win nine or lose nine and hopefully they're on the north of that."
Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Steve Trevelise only. Follow him on Twitter @realstevetrev.
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