History of Offensive/Defensive Line Camp
The inaugural Offensive/Defensive Line Camp (ODLC) was held at Nicholls State University in the Summer of 1987. Three LSU football coaches decided they would get together and hold a camp for linemen since there were no line camps in Louisiana at that time. Jessie Daigle (running backs), Pete Jenkins (defensive line), and Kenny Ferro (tight ends/offensive line) chose Nicholls State because of the proximity of housing, cafeteria, and practice fields – everything was within walking distance for the campers. Phil Greco, the head coach of the Colonel football team at the time, welcomed the camp to Nicholls, beginning what would be a longstanding relationship between the University and the ODLC.
In that first year, under 100 participants attended the four-day camp. In addition to the three owner/coaches, the first coaching staff included the following individuals: Mike Ortego (Opelousas High), Carol Delahoussaye (St. Martinville High), Mike Vallery (Ouachita High), John Mitchell (LSU), Don Rodrigue (Nicholls), Charlie Sabbatini (Nicholls), Wayne LeBlue (Wichita Falls, TX).
In 1999, the ODLC held a camp at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, TX, in addition to the camp at Nicholls. The Texas camp ended in 2007. In 2014, Jessie Daigle retired from the ODLC, followed by Kenny Ferro in 2017. In 2018, Don Rodrigue was asked by Pete Jenkins, one of the original owners, to be a partner in the camp. He accepted the offer, and the name of the camp was changed to Louisiana Line Camp (LLC).
Because of Southeastern Conference rules, there were times when Pete Jenkins could not coach the camp. Mike Ortego and Brad Villavaso stepped in as defensive coordinators. Coach Jenkins’ footprint has always been the face of the defensive side of the camp.
Some notable National Football League coaches that have participated in the camp are Carl Dunbar (Pittsburgh Steelers), Bo Davis (Detroit Lions), Henry Thomas (Minnesota Vikings), Kevin Mawae (New York Jets), Ryan Neilsen (New Orleans Saints/Atlanta Falcons), Brandon Daly (New England Patriots/Kansas City Chiefs), Derek LeBlanc (Miami Dolphins/Arizona Cardinals), Matt Jones (Tennessee Titans), and Travis Crittenden (Kansas City Chiefs), Austin “Bear” Clark (Miami Dolphins).
The passion, mentality, and technical aspects that Kenny Ferro implemented in 1987 are still being used today and are the heartbeat of the offensive line. In 2018, Mark Songy was hired to continue the work that Coach Ferro had begun 30 years prior. Coach Songy won a Louisiana High School Athletic Association football state championship in 2014 as head coach of the Jesuit Blue Jays. In addition to Pete Jenkins, Don Rodrigue, and Mark Songy, Randy Breaux rounds out the list of camp administrators. Coach Breaux oversees all logistical things regarding the campers, including attendance, communication with parents, and snack pickup and delivery. The role of timekeeper is crucial during practices and the camp has two of the best. Jack Franks (defense) and Mark Mawae (offense) control the pace of practice and make sure the activity is efficient and productive.
Since 2014, the camp has partnered with Thibodaux Regional Health System to provide medical care to the campers, coaches, and staff throughout the four-day event. In addition to providing sports medicine expertise, the hospital staff also offers the campers nutritional guidance and injury prevention techniques among other services.