GLENDALE — The six quarterbacks and three wide receivers who came out to Glendale Community College on Saturday morning for the Fusion Football Camp comprised a class that was admittedly smaller than what directors Bob Gagliano and Burbank resident Chris Thomas were hoping for, if not expecting.
That didn’t stop the two retired NFL veterans from giving their full attention, energy and knowledge to a handful of the area’s aspiring football standouts who came out to participate in an offshoot of the five-month football clinic developed by Gagliano and Thomas that is quickly gaining notoriety for its unique methods and tangible results.
“It’s going great so far,” said Dylan Martinez, a redshirt sophomore at Glendale College who plays quarterback, about halfway through the camp on Saturday. “These coaches, they know what they’re talking about, so it’s good to get their two cents in, it helps a lot.
“Just doing this camp for one day, I’ve been able to find these little niches that I’ve been having problems with, but Coach Bob’s been correcting it, so it’s been helping me.”
Started four years ago by Gagliano and Thomas, who together have a combined 22 years of experience playing professional football, the Fusion Football Clinic is a long-term comprehensive course that spends about five months preparing kids 15 and older to play quarterback and wide receiver, ideally at the Division I collegiate level.
More recently, the pair developed a weeklong course for younger players and is currently exploring the viability of one-day workshops like Saturday’s.
“Basically, we’re going to go through some of the basic fundamentals and mechanics that you do utilize, because repetition is how you actually get better,” said Gagliano, who starred at quarterback at Glendale college in 1977 before moving on to a 14-year pro career. “[At the camp] we introduce a lot of the same things that we do at the clinic, but it’s all packed into one day.
“If they can walk away with one or two or three different thoughts that can benefit them and help make them a little bit better, then mission accomplished.”
Physical training is only part of the camp’s emphasis. According to Thomas, who enjoyed an eight-year NFL career, the psychological side is just as important.
“We talk about the ability to transform because ultimately you’re trying to teach them to dictate the game to the people they’re competing against, as opposed to the game being dictated to them,” Thomas said. “We spend a lot of time trying to hammer home that philosophy, coupled with the skill set, which breeds confidence.
“You challenge their threshold, and now they go from thinking they have a ceiling of achievement to thinking they have no ceiling of achievement.”
While both coaches agreed that a small class size is better suited for the five-month clinic than a one-day workshop, Saturday’s attendants appreciated the amount of attention they were able to receive.
“In just a couple hours out here with [Thomas], he’s really taught me certain moves that make me better and made me learn the game mentally, not just physically,” said Glendale college receiver Kenny Suber. “There’s less athletes here, so Coach can personalize himself to that one person and we have a bunch of time to go over everything and get it right.”