Head Coach Chad Lunsford is one of the many coaches worldwide who is ‘learning as we go right now’ and adapting to the new normal of virtual coaching. He held a press conference via Zoom from Statesboro on Thursday and emphasized that safety is his number one priority during this time.
“I want our coaches and our players to feel comfortable with their situations with their families...jobs and whatever else they’re being asked to do,” Lunsford said. “We’re constantly communicating with our guys each day.”
The future of college football is questionable this upcoming season and there are many fans wondering if the season will begin on time. As of right now, all summer class instruction will be online and the status of summer training is up in the air. The NCAA has not said that the regular season start date will be pushed back. Lunsford is hoping that things will begin as usual, but he obviously has no control over the decision.
“Hopefully what will happen is, we’ll end up with some summer time so we can get them in shape,” Lunsford said. “Back in the old days, you didn’t have summer school, you didn’t have the opportunity to have them here and you’d bring them back for summer camp and there'd be those conditioning tests...It may end up being a lot like that.”
GS only had six spring practices before athletes were sent home due to COVID-19 and nobody is sure when the players and coaches will be able to meet face-to-face again.
“I think because we have a good bit of experience on our team that will help us,” Lunsford said. “I think it might hurt [our] younger players with their development but we will continue to try to bring them along when we are allowed to.”
The NCAA has set strict guidelines in place until the end of the dead period, through May 31, and all workouts are voluntary. The team is using the Teamworks app and can see specially created workouts from Matt Greenhalgh, the strength and conditioning coach. The players meet via Zoom with their position coaches a few times a week and review film of spring practices to keep their heads on the field.
“We’ve gotta be very mindful of their body being able to compete in a sport that is very violent,” Lunsford said. “We’ve gotta make sure that we have enough time for them to build the strength in their bodies and make sure they’re ready to go out there and run around and be physically prepared to beat a football.”
The coaching staff works on recruiting every Tuesday and Thursday, while the rest of the work week is committed to staff meetings and other aspects of the program.
“Recruiting is about relationships,” Lunsford said. “We’re trying to do a really good job of making sure we’re evaluating guys and see how they play on film to make sure they’re good football players. But, it’s also because of everything being slowed down, it’s giving us the opportunity to do more homework on them...It’s allowed us to talk to high school coaches, get the recruits on the phone.”
At the end of the meeting, it was announced that safety Java'n Singletary withdrew his name from the transfer portal and will remain at GS.
Amanda Arnold, The George-Anne Managing Sports Editor, email@example.com