SHERIDAN — Rudy Osborne was one of the Sheridan Broncs with all the secrets.
What’s camp like? How difficult is it?
Osborne recently fielded a lot of those questions from some of his younger teammates.
“There are rumors that it just completely sucks and it’s going to be the worst four days of your life,” the rising senior wide receiver/safety said. “Guys come up to me, like, ‘Is it really that bad?’ And the truth is, no, it’s not that bad. It’s the only camp we go to all year, so obviously, people will say, ‘Ah, that was tough.’ But overall, it’s a good experience, and I think they’ll enjoy it.”
But now, all the Broncs will experience it for themselves. They arrived at camp on the Chadron State College campus in Chadron, Nebraska, Wednesday.
The Broncs loaded 90 kids and eight coaches onto two buses Wednesday morning and left Sheridan around 8:30 a.m. before making the five-hour drive. They come back Saturday afternoon.
Until then, the team will stay in the Chadron State dorms, eat in the cafeteria and play a lot of football — three practices a day.
“We go football for four days in a row,” fourth-year head coach Jeff Mowry said. “We’re packing (the schedule) up.”
It’s an experience Sheridan didn’t receive last year. The camp was still held by Chadron State’s coaches and attended by several high schools in the region, but the Broncs stayed home due to COVID-19.
“We weren’t, with the protocols, yet ready to go,” Mowry said.
They finished the 2020 season with a 7-4 record and lost to Cheyenne East in the 4A semifinal game.
Rising senior wide receiver/cornerback Carter McComb is glad his team returns to camp this year.
“I’m definitely pretty excited to be able to do something normal again,” said McComb, who went to Chadron two summers ago. “I think everyone’s just pretty excited to be able to do this — just (to face) some new schools and competition.”
The Broncs will scrimmage other teams, which Mowry said is a huge boost for his players.
“Sometimes, we take it light on each other because we go against each other every day,” Mowry said. “Well, when we go against Rapid City and other schools, they’re not going to take it easy on us. They’re going to take us head-on, and we’ve got to answer that call. That competition really just gets the juices flowing.”
Those scrimmages also give Mowry and his assistants the opportunity to see which Broncs stand out in game-like scenarios.
The team is missing a few seniors because they’re playing baseball for the Sheridan Troopers. For the seniors that did travel to Chadron, they’ll look to grab the leadership roles vacated by last year’s graduating class.
It means even more for Osborne, who missed the last two seasons with a back injury.
“Even as a junior, I always felt like I had someone to rely on,” Osborne said. “Now, I’m the guy that the underclassmen have to rely on. No one else will do the work for me, so I have to step up and work harder at everything I do — practice, camp, everything.”
Part of being a leader: If the younger Broncs have any more questions about camp or being a true Sheridan football player, he’s happy to answer them.
“(Camp is) a grind,” Osborne said. “It’s hot, and it’s humid, and there are a lot of bugs. But I like it a lot because it really just makes you tougher. It kind of shows the younger guys — the freshman and sophomores — how Sheridan football does things. We go down there, we work hard, and we get better. We become a team."