LIVE OAK — There were no spring Friday night lights last week.
Normally, the spring practice period should have been ending with spring games.
Instead, area coaches were still spending their time like they have most of the past two months, using social media and other forms of communication to try and stay in contact with their players.
“We call them, check in on them. That’s pretty much all you can do,” Suwannee coach Kyler Hall said, adding Suwannee has been utilizing Zoom for online meetings as well as sending out workouts for the players to do each week through Hudl. “You just hope that the kids are doing workouts the best they can.”
Lafayette coach Mark Beach and Branford coach Tim Clark agreed that without having everybody together at school and the opportunity to keep tabs on players there, whether it be in the hallways, classes or practice, phone calls and text messages have become the norm.
“Just staying in contact through social media and when I send out group messages to the kids, just trying to keep football on their minds has been my mindset of it,” Clark said, adding he sends motivational messages to players as well as reminders of what they can be doing during their spare time to stay somewhat in shape.
Beach added his main concern this spring has been on the Hornets’ academic well-being.
“That’s been the focus,” he said.
While he has reached out to players about workouts that could be done at home, Beach said the reality is, those workouts aren’t likely to be very productive. At least not compared to what could be accomplished at Lafayette High with coaches and teammates around.
He noted social media has been beneficial in devising creative ways to provide a workout and resistance when weights and other equipment aren’t available.
Even so, it won’t be the same.
“Regardless of doing that, when we get back, it will be a shock to their system and their bodies regardless of what they’ve done,” Hall said. “All of the work we’ve done up until the point where all of this happened, most of that is gone.
“Whenever we get back, for a lot, it’s going to be like starting from scratch.”
But that will be the case for all teams, Hall noted.
And that provides an opportunity for someone to capitalize, according to Clark.
“The difficult thing is for a teenage kid to be self-motivated to go out and do something right now,” Clark said, mentioning he had sent out a reminder earlier Friday that a weight room isn’t necessary to make progress, players can still throw, run, jump and catch among other things without equipment. “If our boys will, that will just be an advantage for us.”
It’s an advantage Clark believes will happen for the Buccaneers, who he said are more then ready to be given the green light to occur.
“They’re anxious,” he admitted. “I feel like I have to keep talking them down. They’re ready to storm the building and take the weight room by force.
“I feel like our boys are just comping at the bit if they give us the green light, that they’re rip roaring ready to go.”
At Suwannee, Hall said the unexpected down time has also provided a chance for the coaches to self-evaluate and try to get better as well. That has included not only X’s and O’s, but also looking at the program as a whole.
He said in addition to some meetings, SHS coaches have been working behind the scenes to get everything ready for once the players are allowed to return for workouts.
“When the players get back, let them see that we’ve been doing things for them and, hopefully, that’ll add to the excitement,” Hall said.