The news is improving in regards to the fall high school sports season in Georgia.
The Georgia High School Association (GHSA) announced in late May that member schools could begin summer workouts on June 8 with restrictions. Some of those restrictions include: having an infectious disease plan in place and guaranteeing that no more than 20 people (including coaches) are participating on campus at a time.
Murray football coach Chad Brewer and North Murray’s Preston Poag are glad to be getting back after it even if it means abiding by somewhat cumbersome guidelines.
“It’s hard because they finally gave us a date to start back, but it’s just limited to what you can do,” said Poag, whose Mountaineers were region champions a year ago. “It’s good that we can get them in the weight room and start conditioning them, but you can’t have a football. You can’t even go into your locker room.”
Poag figured he would have two coaches and 18 players at the school at a time and keep them rolling through during a typical workout day. No one really knows what the next step will be, Poag said, as information from GHSA has come in spurts.
“We don’t know,” he said. “I think we’re going to have a season. My opinion is it will be a slow process. They’ll do this, probably, the month of June and then after the week of July 4, they’ll let us start having a football and having 7-on-7 amongst your team. I don’t see any camps or 7-on-7 against other teams.”
Losing out on camps and 7-on-7s will be a huge loss, Poag said, because of the importance of getting reps for skill players before the season.
“We’re going to have a quarterback (Seth Griffin) who has never started at quarterback,” Poag said. “All that stuff would give him extra reps. It also gives reps to receivers and defensive backs. Over the summer, there’s no telling how many reps they get.”
Across town, Brewer’s Indians are in the same boat. There is a lot of optimism for the 2020 season due to a talented, senior laden team. A full summer regimen would have been very helpful, but what is done cannot be undone.
“We’re going to get rolling, man; our kids are ready,” Brewer said. “They have been texting our coaches, texting me and they’re bored to death. They are ready for a routine. Everybody is, I believe. They’re ready for some normal and some routine.”
Brewer said it was a real let-down when things began to shut down in March. When you have high hopes for the upcoming season, you don’t need things to start working against you before you even get started.
“It was terrible,” he said. “There’s way too many people who have died of this illness. Selfishly, I was very upset. I love spring practice. If you’re a football coach and you don’t love spring practice, I don’t get it. We get to see a preview. We get some work in. Sometimes you can even pull kids who didn’t get to play, get some new players out there, some new blood, and we had a scrimmage against Northwest Whitfield that I was looking forward to.”
Losing spring practice and other offseason events can cause setbacks because they’re instrumental in getting teams on the same page for the upcoming season.
“This time of year we are usually already in pretty good shape because they have always been with us at school and lifting and spring practice, but everybody is in the same boat,” Poag said. “We would be so much further ahead than we are now, not just conditioning but with Xs and Os. You could have already had your freshmen in the weight room, teaching them how to do certain lifts and be ahead of the game. When summer gets here they can jump on in and know things, but now we’ll have to put them in groups and teach them what we expect and how to do certain lifts and things like that.”
Brewer hopes the players will make the most of the opportunities that lie ahead and give fans a season to remember after a year to forget.
“It’s not like anybody has an advantage right now,” he said. “It’s terrible that it happened. I hate it that families have lost loved ones and people have lost jobs. We’re just ready to get back to normal. Our kids are ready. I’m ready. We’re all ready to get back rolling again.”