Happy Friday, everyone. If you want a welcome headline, a FBS university held a full pads scrimmage in the state of Alabama yesterday.
The Jaguars ran 106 plays in their first scrimmage of fall camp, which was conducted under the lights at Hancock Whitney Stadium. The new, 25,000-seat on-campus facility is complete, and ready to host whatever version of a football season South Alabama is able to play amid the pandemic that has forced several conferences around the country — but not the Sun Belt — to shut down for 2020.
Alabama’s practice starts in earnest on Monday, with the new guidelines that allow 25 practices over 40 days to help manage any positive cases and subsequent quarantines. Christopher Walsh has a few things to watch.
3] Strength and performance
With a new sports science center under construction, Alabama suddenly needed someone to run it along with a new strength and conditioning coach. Dr. Matt Rhea and David Ballou may have been the prefect fit as the director of sports science and director of sports performance. After all the knee injuries the Crimson Tide recently experienced, fans and reporters will be closely watching.
4] Having a veteran presence at interior linebacker
We’re not going to list all the injuries the defensive front seven experienced last year again, however having veterans at the interior linebacker sports again should be huge. It was at about this time last year that Dylan Moses and Joshua McMillon were both lost for the season with knee injuries, leaving freshmen Shane Lee and Christian Harris to fend for themselves. Now it’s like Alabama has four returning starters in the heart of the defense.
It will be interesting to see if the team looks a bit faster and leaner this season, and Dylan Moses will be a sight for sore eyes.
Greg Byrne spoke yesterday about the challenges ahead.
“If we are fortunate enough to move forward and play this year, whether we play or don’t play, there are going to be significant financial challenges for our department and departments across the country,” Byrne said.
“Once we get our final schedule and we know the dates for all of our games, then we’re going to unveil our ticketing plan, but I can tell you our capacity will be significantly reduced: emphasize on the significant.”
UA has already lost money from the NCAA Tournament being canceled, potentially as much as $1 million.
The inability to play football in 2020 would be the most financially challenging circumstance, but even playing the full 10-game schedule with minimal fan attendance would carry significant financial ramifications.
Hope for the best.
Football is the only fall championship still kicking.
The NCAA has officially canceled Division I championship in all fall sports due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with the obvious exception of FBS football.
NCAA executive director Mark Emmert said Thursday that an attempt will be made to play championships in sports such as soccer, volleyball, cross country, field hockey and football in Division II, III and the FCS level in the spring. The NCAA has no control over the championship process in FBS football, which is governed by the individual conferences and the College Football Playoff.
Hope for the best again.
Cole Cubelic has a couple of positive notes. First, on the myocarditis issue, he makes a great point that I hadn’t considered.
Most SEC schools have been doing follow up cardiovascular testing even for a symptomatic players who test positive. Gonna be some schools out west a little shocked at what the cardio protocols have looked like in the southeastern footprint for quite some time. Even pre-COVID... https://t.co/WEiRNdvNMl— Cole Cubelic (@colecubelic) August 12, 2020
If you recall, Alabama lost basketball PG Jared Butler to Baylor after Alabama’s medical staff wouldn’t clear him for competition. Due to HIPAA we will never have confirmation, but it was widely speculated that a cardiac issue was the concern. He was able to be cleared at Baylor and has had a great career.
This is a short clip, but he also has this from someone who probably matters in the discussion.
Catherine O'Neal, a respected infectious disease physician who sits on the SEC's medical board: "Canceling football will not cancel their risk of getting the virus."— Ross Dellenger (@RossDellenger) August 14, 2020
More from O'Neal later on @SINow.. https://t.co/csM9LZXy08
This is once again, to me, common sense. We’ve said it enough at this point, but with the testing protocols in place, their odds of exposure to the virus from playing football are likely an order of magnitude lower than exposure on campus, and without infection there is no cardiac concern, etc. Canceling football without also canceling school and closing down every place in town that a player may visit would be devoid of logic. Canceling football and keeping them on campus to work out is completely so.
People are already discussing the recruiting impacts of the Big Ten and Pac 12 decisions.
That’s why Ohio State coach Ryan Day trotted out his pitch on Wednesday afternoon, trying to make the best of the unfortunate position in which the Buckeyes find themselves.
“Some of the midyear guys could come in and possibly play a two-for-one,” he said when laying out his thoughts for a football season that starts in January. “You get two seasons in one calendar year, which I think the recruits would be really excited about.”
Cecil had the response to this on Wednesday night.
Ryan Day just said he wants early entrants — 18-year olds — to play their HS season (if they have one), then be ready to play for Ohio State in January, play until March, then be ready to play again in the fall. #AllAboutTheStudents https://t.co/5ibIcmlIUX— Cecil Hurt (@CecilHurt) August 12, 2020
Couldn’t have said it any better.
Last, I will just leave this here for you to discuss.
Ohio State devotee Jeff Hewitt, a Democratic strategist in Texas, called Politico’s Renuka Rayasam with a theory, she wrote Tuesday night: “If college football gets canceled in the Midwest it would cost Trump the presidency. I laughed, but Hewitt was serious.” And he’s not alone. The Big Ten conference covers seven key battleground states with massively popular college football teams, and Monmouth University pollster Patrick Murray told The New York Times the loss of their Saturday fix could push Republican voters away from Trump, especially the tiny sliver of undecideds. “It’s just one of those markers that reminds people of how much has been disrupted in their life,” he said.
This should go well.
That’s about it for today. Have a great weekend.