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Young guns Newton, Ponder learn ropes at Weinke's QB camp

Chris Weinke struggled to live up to his Heisman Trophy-winning college career during six seasons with the Panthers, but he hopes to help Carolina's quarterback of the future, Cam Newton, outrun the hype.

The top overall pick of last month's NFL draft worked on his game earlier this month at the IMG Institute in Bradenton, Fla., where Weinke serves as director of the IMG Madden Football Academy.

Weinke put Newton through a blend of field drills and film study, and guided the former Auburn star through what he called a "four-day minicamp" earlier this month. *The Star Tribune* reported Monday that Weinke's client list has grown to include Vikings quarterbacks Joe Webb, who went through private workouts last week, and Christian Ponder, a first-round pick who's set to join the academy this week.

"I'll do the same thing with (Ponder as Newton)," Weinke said. "There will be an installation of the offense, for him to get familiar with the verbiage and the concepts. We'll take all that information and go to the field and apply all of that.

"We're spending about 3 to 3½ hours a day in the classroom installing his offense and watching video," Weinke told the newspaper. "We film everything, we video it, we analyze it. We come back in the afternoon and do some more installation and review some video. It's really similar to what they would face if they went to a minicamp following the draft."

Weinke, whom IMG brought in to help launch the program shortly after his NFL career ended in 2008, told the Star Tribune the work is critical for rookies with the NFL lockout stretching into its third month.

"I'm not here to change these guys," he said. "I'm here to really refine their skills and help them or point things out."

Weinke won a national championship with Florida State in 1999 and was the oldest player to claim the Heisman at age 28. He said he "played a lot of golf" after his NFL career ended following just 20 starts over seven seasons with the Panthers and San Francisco 49ers.

"It's the best job in the world," Weinke said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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