It looks like the 2020 season will happen, but no one knows how it will look
|Monday, June 15, 2020, 8:01 AM- -|
Another step towards playing college football in 2020 takes place this week with the arrival of the rest of the 2020 freshman class. What happens next is anybody’s guess, but at least the guesses are more educated now than they were a month ago.
Let’s start with the freshmen.
The eight remaining players from the 2020 recruiting class will move in to Lightsey Bridge this Saturday. That includes running back Demarkcus Bowman, offensive lineman Walker Parks, defensive tackle Tre Williams, safety Malcolm Greene, offensive lineman John Williams, wide receiver Ajou Ajou, running back Kobe Pryor, and offensive lineman Trent Howard. Quarterback Hunter Helms is a walk-on and will also be enrolling.
The rest of the team showed up on campus a week ago to begin voluntary workouts, and after COVID-19 testing the rest of the class will be allowed to join the workouts.
I’ve spent much of the last week calling and texting anyone and everyone regarding the fate of the 2020 season, and despite rising positive numbers for the virus around the country, there is growing confidence that the season will be played.
I spoke with someone earlier this week that said, “We crossed a big canyon when we allowed the players to come back on campus. That was a big first step. But maybe that’s the Salt River Canyon, and we still have to cross the Grand Canyon. That is starting practice and putting all of the protocols in place for the schedule.”
When it comes to the scheduling piece, no one knows if say, The Citadel (scheduled for Nov. 14) will play this season. No one knows how some of the smaller schools – like Akron (scheduled for Sept. 19) – will handle their season. Schools in areas that have been hit harder for the novel coronavirus – such as Boston College and Syracuse – might also face challenges.
Despite the unknowns and the challenges, the sentiment is growing that games will be played. Things will be different – fans might be required to wear face masks, press boxes might be just 1/3 full, postgame interviews might take on a different look, stadiums might be at half capacity – but at least there will be football.
I have a good friend who is an AD at another school, and he reminded me that sports networks are now calling games from the studio. Remember when the college football season opened in Australia and the announcers were back in the States? We might see more of that this season.
The NCAA also took a big step last week when the NCAA Football Oversight Committee passed a recommendation that coaches can begin formally working with their teams on July 13. The committee’s recommendation still needs to be approved by the NCAA Division I Council, but that step is expected to be a formality. The NCAA Division I Council meets this week and will vote on this on June 17.
According to the schedule laid out by the Football Oversight Committee, schools can begin to have access to their players on July 13, which would include strength workouts and coaches engaging in film study with their players. Yahoo Sports reported that, “According to the language discussed on the football oversight call, summer access ‘may begin 25 calendar days prior to the first permissible preseason practice date.’”
Those eight-hour weeks would transition to a pair of 20-hour weeks on July 24, which have been added in part as a safety measure to help get players physically prepared for the season. These have been discussed by the group as being comparable to NFL OTAs, as they’d include walkthroughs and a ball.
This would lead to the training camp starting date on Aug. 7.
At Clemson, the schedule looks like this: the players will continue to work out with the strength and conditioning coaches and hold involuntary workouts for the next two weeks. They will be allowed to take a break for the week of July 4th, and once they all return they will be re-tested and then it will be all systems go in preparation for the 2020 season.
Yes, it looks like the 2020 season will happen. What it will look like remains to be seen.