COACH SPEAK – MAY 12
By Leo Haggerty

PAC12 FOOTBALL COACHES TELECONFERENCE

First of all, and I will start EVERY article with this paragraph, sports pales in comparison with what is occurring with the Coronavirus. Hopefully, the columns that I, and the rest of our correspondents, provide you is a momentary escape from the trials and tribulations that Americans, and the rest of the world’s population, are experiencing. The COVID-19 is not a video game that you can press reset and get a new life. This is real and dangerous so, above all, be prudent and stay safe.

Before I post the transcripts of Part 1 of 4 teleconferences with the PAC12 football coaches, I want to recognize the Vice President of Communications for the conference, David Hirsch, for including me in this gathering.  In this time of limited to no contact with individuals in any sport, a huge note of gratitude to you for including me in the webinar especially when you consider that Tampa is three time zones away from the PAC12 home office in San Francisco.  Thanks, Dave, it is much appreciated from my end.

So, with that being said, let’s get right to it.  The trio that I had a chance to talk with were David Shaw from Stanford and Clay Helton from the University of Southern California along with newly-hired Nick Rolovich from Washington State University.

Below is the first installment of my conversations with the PAC12 football coaches.  There will be three more to follow.

As is my usual custom, I ask the same question of all the coaches involved in that specific teleconference and that will be the format that will be followed.  Enjoy.

LH : In your coaching career, this is probably the longest you have ever been away from your team when it comes to personal contact.  What’s the main thing that you’re worried about when you get your team back together?

NR : Making sure we give them enough time to get physically ready for a season.  That’s one of the things for me.  I actually think that one of the real positives of this is that the players don’t get enough time away from the building to be with their family.  I think we were going to try to find a way to get them a few more weeks with their families.  They got a little bit more than we talked about.  I think its given them a good opportunity to reset and figure out why they are really doing it.  Look, for me, it’s them getting back.  Us, as coaches and administrators, have to make sure that they have enough to get physically ready to play a football season.

DS : I would echo that sentiment also.  Making sure that they are physically ready.  Making sure, in the process, that our guys have the same community feeling that they had when they left.  I’m talking to psychiatrists and psychologists and a lot of different people because this has been a tough time for a lot of guys.  Trying to make sure that, yes, we’re talking football when we get back to them.  At the same time, we want to let them know that we care about them.  That we’re glad they’re with their families but they miss their guys.  They miss that camaraderie.  We’re still trying to find ways to build and keep that up.  Make sure that they know that we care about them.  That they are a big part of us and that we are a big part of them.  So, when we get back together, we are all physically healthy and emotionally healthy as well.

CH : I think that Dave and Rolo hit the nail on the head.  It’s the amount of time period for when it’s safe enough for the whole 110 men to come back together with staff.  The amount of time that you’re given, even prior to a training camp, to, one, get your players in physical, functional football shape prior to a training camp so you don’t have soft tissue injuries.  So you don’t have joint injuries.  To prepare them, whether it’s walk-throughs, strength and conditioning, OTA’s, whatever you want to call it.  Those weeks that it’s going to take to get them in functional football shape prior to going to a training camp that is very fast and very physical.  That time period, it does take time before you go and start a season.  That’s been the nature of a lot of our discussions in our meetings.  Again, the health and safety of the player and we are appreciative of that fact.  When we come back, it’s about their preparation for the season.