UIL fall football practices set to start Monday as programs look to keep athletes safe

UIL fall football practices set to start Monday as programs look to keep athletes safe

TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - The high school football season will kick off on Monday morning with fall football camps starting for schools in the 4A-1A classifications.

Minus a few interruptions schools have been able to do strength and conditioning since June.

“I thought we were going to be pushed to September so I was shocked when we got the start date of August 3,” San Augustine head coach Marty Murr said. “We are really excited. The kids are excited. Most of us won’t sleep that night before so we are just starting at 6 a.m. to get it going.”

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic student-athletes have been out of school since March. The summer strength and conditioning program saw tight restrictions put on by the UIL. Schools jumping back to the old way of fall practices will be a challenge.

“I think we have to be creative in the way we organize our practices this year,” Murr said. “All the way to hydrating the kids to doing the contact stuff. We won’t do any contact stuff that first week and just wait until the second week since they canceled that first scrimmage for us. I think the beginning weeks will look different.”

San Augustine has kept their locker rooms closed all summer and kids have been wearing masks under the UIL policy as well as gloves when lifting to help limit the potential spread of the coronavirus.

The Wolves are not alone in looking at a different style of fall camp. Paul Pewitt coaches are also going n with a different mindset this year.

“You are constantly talking about it,” Pewitt head coach Richard Strickland said. “Your staff meetings float to it even when you are wanting to focus on scheme or whatever football related we are trying to get done. It always goes back to how are we going to do that. There is a plan for everything.”

The UIL is one of the few state organizations to keep football in the fall with many states delaying their seasons to the spring.

“We have followed those UIL guidelines,” Murr said. “I think we have done a good job with it. On the other hand, I do believe numbers will be down in our state football wise this year. We’ve had fewer numbers and I think that is going to be a problem around the state.”

Coaches are doing their best to keep the athletes safe and healthy knowing all eyes will be on their programs in the coming days and weeks.

“It is going to go into play at some point and I get it,” Strickland said. “I am a dad. I have conversations with my wife about stuff and my wife is a teacher. We are both going back to school. Our kids are going to school. That is a thing you have to decide for yourself. I haven’t had an issue yet but I see it coming. I think it will come at some point.”

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