This is the first in a series of stories leading up to the start of the football season.

Balance.

That’s what was stressed to Tobin Johnson, who recently attended a football camp at Nicholls State in Louisiana hosted by the Mannings (Archie, Peyton, Eli and Cooper).

"It was a neat experience to meet all the coaches, who were very willing to help you," said Johnson. "None of the coaches thought this camp was a blow off. They gave us their best as long as we gave them our best."

John was instructed in the basics and what everything came back to was balance.

"Without balance the throw can go sky high or go low, or we could just fall over," Johnson said. "They really pounded (balance) into us: Be calm and be balanced. If we can do that we can be successful."

The campers were also instructed to find balance in their lives off the field.

"Even though we’re supposed to keep our cool during the game, we’re to make sure we’re in the right place in our lives and too keep our grades up and not slack off just because it’s football season," Johnson said. "Everything needs to be balanced and up to standard. We’re not just to be a good athlete, but a good student as well."

Johnson, a senior, is one of three athletes along with junior Jordan Barlow and sophomore Tre Norwood, competing for the starting job at quarterback for the Van Buren Pointers.

"It’s good to have competition. It’ll make us better," Johnson said.

Johnson did get to throw a few passes with Peyton Manning.

"He gave a group of us some instruction about how to hold the ball in certain situations. The velocity from his throws was amazing," said Johnson.

Van Buren breaks tradition this season will open the 2014 campaign on the road Sept. 5 at White Hall. The Pointers open at home on Sept. 12.