(WSPA) – With just over two weeks remaining until the start of the regular season, Upstate football programs transitioned from offseason workouts under phase 1.5 of the South Carolina High School League guidelines to their normal preseason practice routines on Tuesday.
“Well they seem to be pretty excited today,” said Wren Head Coach Jeff Tate. “Finally we got out here and get to bang on each other just a little bit..it’s more like than football than tag or flag. So guys are excited about being here, we’re excited for them, and we feel like we’re starting to move forward and getting closer to playing.”
“I think everybody’s probably a couple weeks behind from where they normally would like to be, but I think we’re all just fortunate just to be able to be out here playing football, because there are a lot of states that aren’t,” Southside Christian Head Coach Mike Sonneborn added.
With limited exposure on the practice field, new procedures in place, and jamborees closing in coaches will have to make some important decisions ahead of week one.
“How much do we want those guys to play in the scrimmages?,” Sonneborn said. “How many reps do they need? How much do you want the quarterback to play? All those things kind of come into play especially at positions where you’re not as deep as usual.”
“We can’t make up for lost time,” said Greenville Head Coach Greg Porter. “What’s been lost has been lost. What we can do is have a plan in place to try to put a system in place where the kids will not be overstressed and they understand what’s expected of them each week.”
The hurdles of a 2020 season extend well beyond just the practice field as each team prepares for a shortened seven-game schedule, magnifying the importance of each individual contest.
“We have to come in ready every week,” said Porter. “We can’t have a week off. And we totally understand that. So [we] can’t have no bad days.”
Change is commonplace in 2020. But these head coaches take solace in knowing that at the end of the day the game, and what it takes to win, remains the same.
“Football is football,” Porter said. “If you have an organized, structured practice players know what’s expected [and] how long they’re going to be in this period. Once they hit that norm then everything is fine. And that’s all we can control. Anything else other than that, that which we can’t control we try not to worry about it.”
“I think our kids have done a good job of adjusting,” Sonneborn added. “And kids are a lot more resilient than people give them credit for. They do well with structure, but they also do well with change if the change is laid out properly.” 11
Teams kick off the regular season on Friday, September 25th.