Longview student-athletes returned to campus this past week for the start of voluntary summer workouts under a large number of guidelines with a light work load.
All of it, Longview athletic director John King said, is to meet one goal: Make it to August.
“We’re trying to get to August, that’s the goal and we’ll continue to do whatever it takes safety-wise to make it until then,” King said. “We don’t want to get started back then all of a sudden get shut down again and go back to where we were.
“Then, on top of all of the guidelines, we’re building with everything we’re doing workout-wise. It was a light week and we’ll continue to build each week. (Athletic performance coach) Cade (Carnett) has a plan and knows what it’s going to take to get us where we need to be conditioning and strength-wise until August. It’s those setbacks — two steps forward, three steps back — that we’re trying to avoid.”
On Tuesday, the University Interscholastic League loosened restrictions one day after the workouts were permitted to begin, eliminating a coach-to-student ratio and expanding the percentage of athletes allowed inside as well as group size.
One Texas high school — West Orange-Stark — shut down this week after an athlete tested positive for COVID-19. The school shut down the summer program for two weeks.
King and his staff met daily to discuss ways to perfect their system of rotations, hand-washing and pre-workout screening that nearly 300 athletes per day navigated through. He said that no student-athlete has been sent away due to a high temperature or a daily questionnaire.
“I think it’s been pretty good,” King said. “It took some learning, a few moments of stubbing your toe to figure some things out that you didn’t plan for. We’ve gone above and beyond the guidelines and will do every day.”
While they’re acclimating to the return, both in terms of the rules as well as physically, patience has been a big thing.
“Safety measures, wash your hands, walk here, all the grouping, I know they’re tired of hearing it, coaches are tired of hearing it bu that is going to be what we’re going to do,” King said. “Patience level has been good. Leadership level has been good. We’re seeing kids encouraging social distancing — ‘hey man, spread out.’”
King said the Lobo football team is planned to start working in football skills on June 22. Currently, programs are permitted one hour per day for skill-specific drills, which have limitations as well such as no offense-vs.-defense plays.
“We’ve just got to keep it up,” King said. “I’m proud of everyone’s efforts. It’s a slow build and that was the plan.
“These kids, they love football or volleyball or baseball or they wouldn’t be doing all of this. If we keep doing what we’re going, we’ll be ready to roll in August.”