VALDOSTA – The Georgia High School Association’s (GHSA) decision to delay the start of the 2020 football season by two weeks extends the practice time in full pads for Georgia programs. It’s much needed for all coaches since they’ve only been with their teams since June 8, which followed a three-month layoff.
“I think the extended time in pads is what we’ve needed. When we get our pads on, whether it’s Aug. 1 or Aug. 3, whatever date the teams choose to do that, and then you go a couple of weeks practicing and all of sudden you’re into that third week of scrimmaging and then the fourth week you scrimmage; those four weeks are more in line with what college football does,” Valdosta coach Rush Propst said. “Then you get ready for the season on Sept. 4. I think teams now with that decision (by the GHSA) gives us more time to be ready to play and be a better product on the field on Sept. 4.”
Monday marked the first of a five-day acclimation period for teams in preparing for full-pad workouts this weekend. Some of the modifications that the GHSA instituted for this week included:
- Use of locker rooms or shower facilities are acceptable with the following guidance:
1. Facilities and all equipment should be sanitized after each practice.
2. Social distancing should be practiced.
3. Masks/face coverings are highly recommended for locker room, weight room and indoor athletic facilities.
- Masks/face coverings are highly recommended for coaches and staff at all times.
Coaches have been able to meet with their players since June 8 but only under strict GHSA guidelines. One of the more stricter rules has been how many people (players and coaches) can be grouped together at once. It started out as 20 but was upgraded to 50 on July 6. But that restriction continues to be a concern for Propst and other coaches.
“I think all coaches have been screaming the same thing, we’ve got to get back to the full squad. It’s hard to get a lot of things done if you don’t have a full squad,” Propst said. “I think that’s very important for us.”
Propst complimented his team’s progression this summer, noting it has come a long way since early June.
“We’ve only been five weeks into it, a little more than five weeks. Have we really pushed them? Yes, we’ve really pushed them. Are they working extremely hard? Yes, they’re working extremely hard. I’ve been awfully proud of them,” Propst said. “It’s been hard on them, it’s been hard on the athlete.
“I never saw so many of the kids the first week be sick, just get sick. It wasn’t really a tough workout, they just hadn’t done it in so long.”