WKTV - “One of the things I've said to the coaches and the team is, whatever team handles this adversity the best is going to have an advantage whenever we do start to play again,” said Dan Hunt, Colgate University Head Football Coach.
Last season, the Colgate Raiders, who were picked first in the Patriot League preseason poll, started out with an 0-7 record but finished on a three game winning streak going into the off-season and planned on returning to campus after spring break for spring football but the virus slowed down their momentum.
“I felt like at the end of the year, we had our swagger back a little bit. We had that momentum and we had a great winter and we're getting ready to have a spring and then all this happens. I do think though that once we get back as a group just being around people it's going to spark that momentum again,” said Hunt.
The NCAA has announced that student-athletes can resume workouts on a voluntary basis on campus beginning June 1 and they’ve put together a plan to bring football players to campus for practices as early as June 8. What does this mean for Raider football?
“We had to make a lot of calls to our players who are obviously eager to get back and we understand that. They were like ‘Oh, June 1, let's get back to work’ and obviously New York's not there yet and Colgate’s not there yet,” said Hunt.
Most student-athletes have been hit with a significant change to their workouts and their diets due to being off campus and not having access to proper workout equipment. Hunt says that all teams are going to have to “tweak” what they’re doing in the summer so they don’t tax the player’s bodies too much initially.
“I think one of the things we're going to have to be really good at is whenever we get them back is assessing where we are at physically. You have to kind of measure each kid where is he at and just make sure that you can't go from zero and put the gas pedal down bad things are going to happen. You got to make sure that they are physically ready."
There have been a variety or return-to-play scenarios for the upcoming CFB season including playing with no fans, playing in certain locations, and even playing in the spring. The decision being based upon the status of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic which could mean ‘no season at all’. Hunt’s optimistic outlook is that there will be a season.
“I think you'll see a season,” said Hunt, “You'll probably see a much different feel maybe to the game day experience for the fans. One good thing about coaches and athletes is just give us the rules and we're going to play. Whatever they decide football will look like in the fall our guys will be all in on it. I get more optimistic every day that we are going to have a season and I think that, that is an encouraging thing but we also know that things can change really quickly.”
In any resumption scenario, Hunt says that the most important people are the equipment managers.
“The guys that really are kind of going to be the unsung heroes in all of this are your equipment people who are going to have to wash and sterilize and all of that. I think that that's really the logistical part that needs to get worked out of ‘Hey, how many kids are going to touch the football and when are we going to clean it and what are we going to do with the pads’ and stuff. We've got great people making those decisions here and we will adapt. I know I’ve got 90 guys that just want to get out and compete.”
The Raiders official start date is scheduled for August 6.
*All video is WKTV file from 2019 season.