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Upper Cumberland Coaches React To TSSAA’s Close Contact Sports Delay

Photo by Kailee Means

The TSSAA announced on Tuesday that they will be delaying the start of football and girls soccer to comply with Governor Bill Lee’s recent order.

While the news may not be necessarily surprising to many, coaches across the Upper Cumberland shared a feeling of disappointment in the news.

“(I’m) a little bit stunned,” DeKalb County Football Coach Steve Trapp said. “Everybody was under the impression that we would come back after dead period and get to do things a little bit differently heading into the season…at least it seems like there’s an effort to try to get some kind of situation available so we can have some type of season.”

Along with delaying the starts of the season, things like 7-on-7s and scrimmages have also been taken out of the equation as well. Trapp says the timing of the decision is what caught him off-guard.

“I didn’t feel for a second that it would get extended to August 29,” Trapp said. “I could see that at the end of July, but also extending it that late could affect how school starts. With how everything has trended the last couple of weeks, it’s not surprising that it happened, but it is disheartening.”

Clay County Football Coach Jake Johnson says he wasn’t surprised that this happened, but it’s still disappointing all the same to him.

“I kind of had a feeling that it was coming based on the executive order that was put through by Governor Lee,” Johnson said. “The TSSAA didn’t really have a choice.”

The delay doesn’t deter Johnson’s belief that his team can still use the time to be productive however, as he sees it also as an opportunity to make up for the time they lost in the spring.

“It’s been an unusual offseason, period,” Johnson said. “As of June 1, we were able to work out, just under strict guidelines and regulations. I feel like the kids will be more prepared than if they had started on time, because we lost a lot of our offseason…it’s not just football, but it’s tough.”

Livingston Academy Girls Soccer Coach David Sadler shares the sentiment of using the time to prepare, as he says he plans on telling his players that they will still be hard at work under the guidelines. He does say that it will be tough without scrimmages however.

“The hard part is not being able to scrimmage and practice (like normal),” Sadler said. “We can run and we can do situations, but it’s also a positive because it gives us more rest and nobody gets banged up and we can go a while longer.”

There’s still reason for hope for these coaches, as the seasons haven’t been outright cancelled yet. In addition, golf, cross country and volleyball will get to have their seasons as scheduled, so there’s reason for optimism. Sadler calls that the silver lining of the situation.

“That’s exactly how we are going to approach it, it’s just a delay,” Sadler says. “Until they pull the plug on the season and tell us that we aren’t going to play, we are going to be optimistic. We are going to be hopeful and we are going to be ready for whenever they do say let’s go.”

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