Head coach Scott Flory is happy to see most of the student athletes back on the field, despite the cancelled Fall Term season for team sports.
“Being around your teammates as much as possible is important,” Flory said. “It’s just something you can’t do virtually.”
Football, among other team sports, will not have a season this year. On June 8, Canada West and U SPORTS cancelled their football championships to accommodate the public health guidelines for COVID-19. It was “a bit of a reality hit” for Flory, but he says that it was a matter of getting a clear view of the situation and adapting to it.
“Our student athletes at least have some kind of opportunity to plan,” Flory said. “But there’s still so [many] uncertainty and adjustments … on a daily basis.”
Only three student athletes could not join the fall practices, according to Flory, who says that kicking off the fall training with 95 per cent of the players back is important to the team.
“People are social creatures, right?” Flory said. “We want to be around people and for us, that locker room experience and being around each other is such an important part of being a team.”
Their focus this year will not be on tactical play and “trying to beat anybody,” Flory said. It is about how individual athletes can improve together.
“It’s really about being together, getting bigger, faster and stronger,” Flory said. “Your individual skill development is a big part of it because the more skilled we are individually, collectively [the more] we increase [our] overall level of play.”
Even though the players are adjusting on the field, they are facing additional adversities outside of it.
“We’ve had some feedback from our guys that the online classes are difficult,” Flory said. “I think that it’s the time to fit all the hours in a day and what’s required academically and physically, and with being a student athlete … that is a lot.”
While trying to balance school and practice, he also says that the team is looking at the possibility of competing with the University of Regina to stay sharp.
“We want to be able to offer the best experience for our guys as possible and that generally means outside competition,” Flory said. “It’s just [a matter of] whether or not it’s going to be allowed by the university and by the health authority.”
For now, Flory and the Huskies football team will keep on practicing to prepare for what the next year will bring.
“We just don’t want to waste this time, on a lot of fronts — academically, physically and athletically,” Flory said. “Time is our most precious commodity.”