Good piece from Pete Thamel here, about what we can expect from the level of play this college football season.
With the FBS college football season kicking off Thursday – buckle up for Southern Miss hosting South Alabama and old friends Central Arkansas playing at UAB – Yahoo Sports polled 30 college coaches, coordinators and assistant coaches about what the on-field impact of COVID-19 restrictions will be. With most schools missing a majority of spring practice and both positive tests and contact tracing proving disruptive at more than two dozen programs, coaches have concerns about how all the inconsistency and instability will impact the product on the field.
Sifting through all the answers, it’s clear that coaches are bracing for a season like no other. The biggest on-field concerns have been overall conditioning, a lack of rhythm due to lack of consistent practice reps and the weekly prospect of potential roster chaos from positive tests and contact tracing. A majority of coaches expect some ugly and sloppy football, especially early in the season. Some are optimistic there won’t be a noticeable impact.
From the standpoint of personnel, the gist of it:
“It’s funny, I’m not really sure,” said Wake Forest coach Dave Clawson, who opens with Clemson on Sept. 12. “I’d say this, physically and conditioning and strength-wise, we’re not close to where we’d normally be now. But mentally, kids knowing assignments, we’re way ahead.”
And from the coaching side:
The challenge for a new staff like the one at Baylor is getting the practice reps to master a new scheme. Fedora said last week that he has about 50 to 60 percent of what “you’d really like to have” in his offense. That’s going to lead to less sophistication. “It may cause teams to simplify their schemes,” Fedora said. “I do think the quality of that game itself is going to change this year.”
Miami coach Manny Diaz disagreed with the notion of a thinner playbook, even with a new offense under coordinator Rhett Lashlee. “We’re not an overly complex offense,” Diaz said. “If you were in a highly complex system with a lot of different concepts, that’s different.”
There’s more in there. Definitely worth a read.