Comets’ Monica a fixture at Manning camp

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 24, 2013


LAPLACE – Eighteen years ago, St. Charles Catholic coach Frank Monica was the offensive coordinator at Tulane when the school began hosting the Manning Passing Academy. Monica coached at the camp with a host of others, and 18 years later, he hasn’t missed a beat.
Though the camp has since moved to Nicholls State, Monica is a mainstay at the event, which has annually brought together between 80 and 100 coaches to teach offensive skills and fundamentals to the next generation of not just quarterbacks, but also running backs, wide receivers and tight ends.
“It’s what you enjoy, as a coach,” said Monica. “You can’t help but enjoy it. Not only do you get to have the hands-on, teaching aspect, but it’s also a great social gathering for people in our profession.
“It’s a great atmosphere here. You’ve got between 30 and 40 college quarterbacks that attend and coach, and many are going to be first round draft picks.”
Well-known names like Andrew Luck, Matthew Stafford and Colt McCoy have participated at the event in recent seasons. Two-time national champion and Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron participated as a coach this season, among many others.
And of course, there are the hosts and event’s namesake: the Manning family. In Monica’s office rests a framed photograph of he standing between the two Manning brothers, Peyton and Eli.
“I’m standing in a hole. I’m not that short,” Monica joked of the towering Manning boys. “They’re both great guys. Eli and Peyton will roam around from group to group and mingle with everyone. Archie is a class act. The Manning family have been nothing but wonderful to work with.”
Monica is the oldest active coach on the MPA roster. He said that the work can be taxing at times.
“Going up there for it, it doesn’t interfere with my personal schedule anymore,” said Monica. “But it can be physically taxing. You’re essentially doing three-a-days.”
Monica typically has a group of seven coaches under him at the event, which sees 1,200 campers represented in all. There are 40 fields that house different stations, the purpose of each to drill a different technique or skill: there are stations for the 3-step drop, the 5-step drop, the deep ball and play-action among others.
The camp also holds 7-on-7 competitions and question and answer sessions allowing the campers to pick the brains of college and pro players.
“I’m so impressed with the college guys,” said Monica. “Even at 3 or 4 years in, they’re already so good, so sharp. It’s always a nice thing when you’re watching a game on Saturday or Sunday and you can say, ‘Hey, that guy and I ate breakfast together,’ or ‘I gave that guy a ride back.’ You develop relationships with these guys.”
The veteran coach said he wouldn’t trade the experience.
“Overall, the great things you get out of the camp trump the physical demands,” he said. “It’s something I’ve enjoyed a great deal over the years.”