These Coronavirus times may be uncertain but plans for the 2020 high school football season have begun to be put into place.
Most recently, the Mississippi High School Athletic Association announced that June 1 will be the date which its member schools may begin their summer workout schedule.
Although the actual opening date of the 2020 football season is yet to be determined, Gentry High Head Coach Mario Young and Thomas E. Edwards High Head Coach Demaris Mitchell in Ruleville are putting together their plans for next week’s start date.
In discussion with both coaches, safety of the players was the first item mentioned and Coach Young observed, “We do not want any of these players to get sick or take the virus home to someone who is in the high risk category. We will use paper cups rather than bottles for water, among other things. Safety is a major concern to us.”
However, there are significant guidelines which the veteran coaches must navigate around which will impact their squads’ normal summer workout routines.
Chief among those guidelines include teams being prohibited from attending summer camps, each day’s practice owning a two-hour time limit, the use of masks during group gatherings (but not during exercise and practices), and adhering to the current head-count limit imposed by each municipality of any gathering.
Additionally, two-a-day practices will not begin until day seven of each school’s summer workouts. However, those two-a-days cannot occur on consecutive days and cannot exceed three hours total practice time per day.
While Coach Mitchell and his staff are putting the final touches to their daily schedule this week, Coach Young has a plan but “I am sure we will have to adjust it a bit as we progress each day,” he continued.
Coach Mitchell also noted that being creative with a limit of players each session would be a necessary function of his staff. “Once we get the kids out there, we’ll have a better view of the best way to implement the multiple group practices each day.”
“This is no doubt going to be a very different season,” said Coach Mitchell, “but we will just have to adjust. Everyone is in the same predicament so the playing field is level; the teams that handle all this the best will do the best on the field”.