Covid-19 has put college football completely on hold. No spring practice, no weight room workouts, and worst of all, no recruitment visits. With social distancing becoming a part of all of our lives, coaches have had to become more creative with training and with their recruitment pursuits. With these new developments, the game could be changing forever.
Adapting to the Times
Face to Face meetings and workouts are out for the foreseeable future. Coaches have now begun to turn to Zoom and Microsoft Team to stay together. Some schools have begun to do virtual coach’s meetings every day to start preparing for the upcoming season. Strength Coaches have resorted to sending filmed sessions to groups of players to keep them working out. However, things get tricky when you have to replace weights with suitcases, and backpacks. Some schools have found ways to send equipment to players, such as medicine balls and workout bands, but it still may not be enough.
As reported by USA Today, some schools have become quite creative with workouts. Washington State coaches have held online push-up parties! Not my cup of tea, but that’s why I don’t play football. Strength coaches have started filming workouts and then posting them to private Instagram accounts for players to follow. Anything to try and keep the players in shape for the start of the new season. Coaches have also shared playbooks with teams through password-protected documents online. It seems risky, but it’s the only way to keep players and coaches prepared.
This is where things are getting interesting. Recruiting has long been at the forefront of college football. Official visits, to verbal commitments, to the thrill of de-commitments, to the ever-popular National Signing Day. It consumes the sport. Now with social distancing in place we’ve seen some creative ways coaches have been using to keep incoming recruits committed to their programs.
As featured above, Jimbo Fischer and Texas A&M set up a Madden 20 tournament between recruits and coaches that was locally televised. On top of these types of events, programs around the country have started finding time to call and face time recruits daily. Manny Diaz, head coach at Miami, said it’s been good for his staff and the incoming recruits that talk every day. In fact, it seems to be good for every program at the moment. The NCAA has stated that the 2021 class has already seen the highest amount of scholarship offers and verbal commitments of any year.
Many schools have begun to turn to Virtual Reality as a tool for recruiting. Starting at Michigan back in 2015, VR has become a popular device that is now more important than ever. Schools like Kansas, Arkansas, Ole Miss, and UNLV have recently created a Virtual Reality experience for prospective recruits to get to view the facilities and even participate in gameday from the field. Now high school athletes can view these schools in a much different way from the comfort of their own homes. Technology is helping shape the new age of recruiting and the future looks bright for college football.
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