Final preps underway for Colts camp at Anderson University

A sign welcomes the Colts and their fans to Anderson University.
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Football season is just days away as crews make final preparations for Colts camp at Anderson University.

Painters striped the NFL yard markers on the football field at Anderson University's Macholtz Stadium Tuesday afternoon while workers erected temporary bleachers overlooking the practice fields for the fans soon to arrive. About 50 golf carts waiting for their VIP drivers are lined up in the parking lot, labeled with the names of Colts owners, coaches and staff. 

Colts training camp is about to kick off in Anderson.

"We're certainly ready for the Colts and we're certainly ready for the guests," said Chris Williams, Anderson University Director of University Communications and Community Relations. "We're looking forward to an exciting training camp."

Anderson University welcomes Colts training camp for the 5th straight year, and the 20th year overall. Anderson also hosted the training camp from 1984-98. Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute hosted the event from 1999-2009. 

The Colts players and coaches move in to the campus dormitories Wednesday and hit the practice field Thursday. Last year's camp attracted more than 40,000 fans with an estimated economic impact of $6 million. 

"Having the team's presence here has been a wonderful benefit for the institution as well as for the city of Anderson," said Williams.

Colts Chef DeWitt Jackson arrived in Anderson last week to stockpile food. Jackson and his staff of six must feed 180 players, coaches and staff for three weeks. This is his 9th year with the team. He prepares meals year round at the Colts headquarters in Indianapolis. Jackson has also overseen the training camp meals since the team returned to Anderson in 2010.

Some days the players have two-a-days, two practices in one day. But every day in the kitchen is a four-a-day, as in four meals. And every meal is like a game, no practices.

"On a regular day it's buzzing pretty good," said Jackson, standing in the training camp kitchen. "We've got people moving around. There's a lot to do. We're doing a meal and prepping for the next meal. That's what we do all day."

The kitchen staff arrives at 4:30 a.m. to prepare breakfast. The last crew does not leave until well after the 9:00 p.m. snack. Jackson sometimes works a 19 hour day during training camp. 

Jackson says players typically consume between 1,500 and 2,500 calories a day. He concentrates on providing protein for muscle recovery, carbohydrates for energy and fluids for hydration.

"They like the beef," said Jackson, "Chicken and fish is what we're trying to give them. But the beef is what they prefer."

The training camp food bill is around $230,000. The dining room in Anderson might be more important than the film room.

The Colts first practice open to the public is Thursday 1:50 – 4:25 p.m. The Colts do not charge admission for training camp, but parking is $5, $20 for buses. For a complete camp schedule and other information, visit