Camp provides Devil of an experience

Jeff Tully

Bellarmine-Jefferson High senior football player Brendon Doyle is

finding Hell Week practices a little easier to take this year.

With the Guards in the midst of traditional two-a-day workouts


that can last four hours, most players are struggling to get back in

shape for the upcoming season.

However, the practices have been a piece of cake for Doyle, the

team’s starting quarterback.


After what Doyle went through earlier this summer, the player not

only came into camp in better shape, but he also has a renewed

confidence and a new outlook on life.

For 10 days in July, Doyle joined a group of nearly 300 boys and

girls at a military-style camp at Camp Pendleton in Oceanside. The

Devil Pups camp was a grueling series of physical and mental

challenges designed to instill self-confidence, discipline and

leadership qualities in young men and women.


“After the first couple of days at the camp, I didn’t like my

parents too much for sending me to something like that,” said Doyle,

an All-CIF Southern Section Division XII choice as a punter in 2002.

“I didn’t understand why I was there. I have always been a pretty

good kid, and I thought that I was going to something that was just

for the bad kids. I was not very happy at first.”

Despite his early misgivings about the camp, Doyle said he came to

understand the benefits he was receiving by attending the event.


“I started to see what this camp could do for me, and what I could

get out of it,” he said.

“And now that I’m back at practice, I can really see the changes.

Not only am I in better shape, but I have a lot more confidence and I

feel I can be a leader out the on the field.

“The camp is something I would highly recommend to other people.”

Although it is held on a Marine Corps base, Devil Pups is not a

military-sponsored event and it’s not a mini-boot camp or a

recruiting tool for the Marines.

During the 10 days, campers were put through conditioning

exercises, taught first aid instruction, took part in leadership

exercises and learned how to swim. They also go out on a bivouac

(camping) exercise. The organization boasts that about 85% of

nonswimmers learn to swim at the program.

In one of the exercises, campers had to jump from a 35-foot tower

into the water.

Along with the physical work, the Pups also attended educational

lectures on the importance of teamwork, drug and alcohol abuse

prevention and the benefits of having goals in life.

“Some of the physical drills were really tough,” Doyle said. “At

one point, we had a five-and-a-half-mile run in the sand, and we had

to do it wearing our [military] boots. That was a challenge.

“But when you finish something like that, it really gives you the

confidence that you can do anything once you set your mind to it.”

Doyle was able to excel at the camp, earning several awards --

including a leadership award and a $500 savings bond.

When they first proposed the idea of their son attending the camp,

Doyle’s mother and father didn’t know how he was going to react to 10

days of rigorous physical and mental challenges. But when their son

returned home, both were happy Brendon got the opportunity to attend

the event.

“You don’t hear of many camps for good kids,” said Tim Doyle,

Brendon’s father. “You usually only hear about camps for the bad


“I think this has been a life-changing experience for Brendon. His

mother and I have seen real distinctive changes in him.

Brendon Doyle is hoping the things he learned at the Devil Pups

event will help him put together a successful senior season at


Last season, not only did Doyle have a good season at quarterback,

completing 103 of 203 passes for 1,553 yards, 13 touchdowns and 13

interceptions, but he also tallied seven interceptions as a defensive


Doyle is also an all-league boys’ basketball and volleyball player

for the Guards.