College football is deeply entrenched in the culture of almost every American university. A fall semester without it seems just crazy enough for 2020, but the postponement of the season is equally as historic as it is telling of the state of the world today.
In CCSU’s official record book, the Blue Devils’ season record is listed year by year, dating back to CCSU’s inaugural 1935 season (which was only three games in length). There’s one gap from then to now, with only four words used to explain the break from 1942-45: “No teams – War years.”
What phase will delineate this year? “No teams – COVID years”? When CCSU football inevitably returns, what will the state of college football look like? How can coaches ensure the safety of their players while still running a tight ship on the field?
There are countless questions and hurdles college football coaches will have to face before college football can return. CCSU football head coach Ryan McCarthy has been busy facing these hurdles himself though it has not distracted him from the things he misses from the game.
“What drives us as coaches is being around players,” McCarthy said. “They give us energy.”
McCarthy is in no rush to send out the Blue Devils in the midst of a pandemic and has focused on being “openly transparent” with his players about the current state of the team.
Towards the end of last semester, McCarthy said he told his team that he had “no idea what things were going to look like” going forward.
“I didn’t think there was going to be the inordinate amount of spikes that we saw in the country,” McCarthy said, “but I didn’t feel good about the season and to be honest with you, a lot of the kids didn’t feel good about it either. They had health concerns as well, as they should.”
McCarthy said he is mostly against the idea of playing a full season this spring and questioned the logistics of it.
“What is it gonna look like? Are you going to play in the spring and then play in the fall? How many games are you going to play in the spring and then play in the fall? We’re talking about health and safety, you’re going to play 20 games in a year? I don’t know how that works,” McCarthy said.
In lieu of the tremendous workload of having two seasons in a single year, McCarthy proposed that the team plays in a number of scrimmages with teams from around New England akin to high school football jamborees. “Just to grease the wheels a bit,” McCarthy said.
“You can’t just throw them on the field right away,” McCarthy said. “With injuries and how the game is played I don’t think it’s in anyone’s best interest to throw them back out there.”
Instead, McCarthy said “we need to gradually work into it and formulate a plan. I think the plan is let’s play in the fall. Go through the spring, play a couple of exhibition games and then take it from there.”