Hinder impresses at Manning camp | SteamboatToday.com

Hinder impresses at Manning camp

Steamboat Springs sophomore to take helm of football squad this fall

Luke Graham

— Aug. 24 can’t come soon enough for sophomore Austin Hinder. It’s when Hinder starts his career as a quarterback of the Steamboat Springs High School football team.

With three-year starter Tanner Stillwell on his way to Colorado State University, Hinder has the task of trying to take a young Sailors team to the playoffs for a third straight season.

To his credit, Hinder’s doing everything possible to make the transition easier.

He recently returned from the 2007 Manning Passing Academy held at Nicholls State University in Louisiana. It was the third time Hinder has attended the camp, and this time, he was one of 15 sophomores named to the elite team. He’s also planning a trip to the St. Louis Rams’ training camp, all while working out daily on his drop backs, accuracy and arm strength.

“Really, I am just trying to get as good as I possibly can,” Hinder said. “I want our team to win, badly. I am trying to help out our team as much as I can.”

It was at the Manning camp where Hinder impressed the most. Being selected to the elite team meant Hinder was one of the top players at the camp that draws 2,500 young athletes. The camp included a day of speed drills and three days of dropping back and throwing.

Recommended Stories For You

In attendance were Division I and NFL coaches from across the country, as well as quarterbacks Peyton and Eli Manning and Jake Delhomme.

“You just try to just learn from them because they’re so great,” Hinder said. “I just try to learn as much as I can.”

Specifically, Hinder – who considers his knowledge of the game his biggest strength – focused on his footwork. With the Steamboat offense predicated on timing, Hinder said he made his drops and footwork the biggest focus of camp.

“It’s all about the footwork,” Hinder said. “It’s so key. If you’re one step off, it all falls apart.”

While Hinder has zero experience starting at the varsity level, he comes from great football pedigree.

His grandfather Jim Hanifan was the head coach of the St. Louis Cardinals for six years and served as an assistant coach in the NFL for more than 15 years.

Couple that with the experience he got running the offensive scout team against last year’s varsity defense, and Steamboat coach Aaron Finch is confident Hinder has the abilities to make the leap to starter.

“I think the most fun thing is Austin loves football. He loves playing quarterback. He loves everything to do with the game,” Finch said. “And fundamentally, he does a lot of things well.”

With fall practice less than a month away, Hinder plans to keep himself busy with workouts in the gym and on the field.

Still, that first snap against Kent Denver can’t come soon enough.

“I have it set on my phone, on my calendar and in my mind,” he said. “It’s getting in as many workouts as I can, but I can’t wait for that game.”

– To reach Luke Graham, call 871-4229

or e-mail lgraham@steamboatpilot.com