THIBODAUX, La. -- Three takeaways from the final day of the 19th annual Manning Passing Academy, a camp for youth quarterbacks run by Archie Manning and sons Peyton and Eli, featuring top college quarterbacks as counselors.
1. Gardner a hit with campers
As the 40 or so college quarterbacks on hand for the Manning Passing Academy worked stations with campers all weekend, differences in their approach to working with kids were easily apparent. And few had a better time of it than Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner.
As much as any counselor, Gardner made sure his station was light and fun, yet still educational, for groups of 10-12 kids at a time.
"It's an honor to be out here and work with these kids," Gardner said Friday.
At Saturday morning's practice, Gardner was simulating a full-speed pass rush for his group of campers in the sweltering Louisiana morning heat, and his T-shirt showed it in short order. Gardner also drilled his quarterbacks on the fundamentals of the rollout pass, and the proper footwork required upon delivery of a throw on the run. But he also kept it fun.
Detroit Lions trainer Dean Kleinschmidt joked with Gardner during a break that he would pass along word of his knack for working with youngsters to new Wolverines offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier.
Washington State quarterback Connor Halliday built a strong rapport with campers, as well.
Gardner, however, seemed to be enjoying himself most, despite a pending quarterback battle at Michigan that Gardner spoke of on Friday.
2. Bennett wows crowd
Of the hundreds of throws witnessed Saturday night by a strong crowd at Manning Field, none drew as strong a reaction as a deep pass by Southeastern Louisiana's Bryan Bennett. The transfer from Oregon showed off what could have been the strongest overall arm in the evening's passing competition with a ball thrown from near one 20-yard line that bounced into the opposite end zone.
As the pass continued to sail, the third Manning brother, Cooper, recognized the moment.
"That's an 80-yard throw. That's disgusting," the oldest Manning son said in color commentary made over a P.A. system.
Bennett gets his first chance to start this season at SELA after serving as a two-year backup at Oregon in 2011 and 2012. There, Bennett threw for 580 yards and nine touchdowns over two seasons behind Darron Thomas and Marcus Mariota. If Saturday's display was any indication of Bennett's 2014 season, Nicholls State will have its hands full when Bennett returns to Manning Field for a season finale Nov. 20.
3. Hundley, others flash best throws
A conflict with a summer-school class prevented UCLA's Brett Hundley from an on-time arrival at the MPA, but the Bruins star arrived nonetheless and made some impressive throws Saturday night, one in particular on an 18-yard comeback route that many of the quarterbacks struggled to complete.
Other QBs who made the best throws of the night: Utah State's Chuckie Keeton, Mississippi State's Dak Prescott, Oregon State's Sean Mannion, Gardner, and Nevada-Reno's Cody Fajardo.