This spring, for the first time, ESPN is filming Jon Gruden’s QB Camp series at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports Complex outside Orlando, Fla. The 220-acre facility at Walt Disney World opened exactly 17 years ago tomorrow and is home to hundreds of events annually – from Atlanta Braves spring training to AAU, Pop Warner football and other youth sports tournaments.
Gruden, who is hosting nine quarterbacks in all, is no stranger to the Wide World of Sports. From 2002-08, his Tampa Bay Buccaneers teams conducted their annual training camp there when he was the head coach (pictured above).
“It’s a state-of-the-art facility,” said Gruden, an analyst on ESPN’s Monday Night Football. “The [Atlanta] Braves train here and we won a world championship when we trained here with the Bucs. I wanted to come back with these quarterbacks and hopefully some of the magic will rub off on them because they’ll need it in the NFL.”
He added: “The studio has been great and the field we use is definitely NFL quality. Also, Tom Shaw is training a bunch of NFL and draft-eligible college players here who have contributed to the shows. Just the other day we had [University of Louisville quarterback] Teddy Bridgewater completing passes to [NFL receivers] Santonio Holmes and Devin Hester with guys like [NFL defensive backs] Ike Taylor, Tony Carter and Cortez Allen in coverage. The cooperation has been unbelievable.”
Editor’s Note: Gruden’s QB Camp: Johnny Manziel debuts tonight at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN. The 2012 Heisman Trophy-winner and projected first-round pick visited Gruden last month. ESPN will also have live reports throughout the day from Manziel’s Texas A&M Pro Day with commentators Todd McShay, Bill Polian and reporter Ed Werder in College Station, Texas. Coverage on ESPN begins at 11 a.m. ET; on ESPN3 at 11:30 a.m.