By Ray Hamill — It’s been a challenging spring to say the least, and that’s not likely to change any time soon.
In fact, local coaches are probably going to be challenged more than ever when play does resume, and that’s something that could have a big say in how the fall seasons unfold, especially early on.
“I think that’s what the season is going to come down to,” Arcata head football coach Jamal Jones said. “Every coach is going to be challenged.”
Preparations for the football season and all fall sports have been hampered with the inability to hold offseason programs, and that will put a premium on good coaching when teams retake the field.
Coaches who can adjust to the situation quicker and do a better job coaching up their players in a shorter period of time will have their teams better prepared when the games return.
In addition, not all players have access to weights at home, which will affect their preparation.
“It’s strange for sure,” McKinleyville head coach Keoki Burbank said. “It’s tough because we were having a really good offseason. We had the best weight room attendance since I’ve been at McKinleyville.”
Del Norte head coach Nick White echoed the sentiment.
“We had 40 kids in the weight room. Now that went away,” he said. “It affects everybody. All you can do is try to prepare for when we do get back.
“Definitely it’s a setback, but everybody’s in the same boat.”
The local football coaches have been in constant contact with their players through the lockdown and working with them from a distance as much as they can.
The players that have been motivated and working out on their own will no doubt be better prepared when the lockdown ends.
The lack of offseason programs will hurt the younger teams more than others, with squads like Del Norte, Arcata, Eureka, McKinleyville and St. Bernard’s all featuring a lot of new or young starters this fall.
Jones has added a new coach to his staff for the upcoming season, in part to help with this new challenge facing them.
Mike Kent, who is the program’s strength and conditioning coach, will now also coach the offensive line.
“I think that’s going to be huge for us,” Jones said. “We need more eyes out there.”
The good news for the local teams is that the H-DNL is loaded with quality coaching staffs, particularly in the Big 4.