County coaches react to TSSAA 'hybrid' plan for football

Fans will have to social distance and wear facial coverings if they're going to attend high school football games this season. FILE

Most Rutherford coaches are glad there is a contingency plan for football in 2020, even if they don't quite understand the new "hybrid" plan.

The TSSAA Board of Control voted to use Option 2, which originally called for the TSSAA to schedule all region games for teams across the state. The region champion and runner-up would make the playoffs and a 16-team bracket would be used. Additionally, the plan called for the season to start on Sept. 18.

However, the "hybrid" plan would kick in when Gov. Bill Lee's state of emergency order through Aug. 29 is lifted or allows the TSSAA to be exempt. Teams would be allowed three weeks of contact practices. It also allows teams to keep their original schedule, rather than the TSSAA assigning them. Only the top two teams from each region will make the playoffs.

If the season were to begin a week or two later rather than Sept. 18, the "hybrid" plan would allow teams to keep the majority of their schedule.

For example, if two teams from the same region are scheduled to play Week 1 and the season doesn't start until a week or two later, they would play each other when they have the same open date later in the season. If not, they each would drop a non-region opponent on the same week to allow them to still play one another.

"I think the hybrid is a really good plan," Rockvale coach said. "It covers everything is what it does. It just depends on when we get the get-go when we start. I was impressed with it, so the thing we're going to get is three weeks to be in full great to start getting ready for real football.

"Most of what we're doing now is weights and conditioning. I guess we're not going to scrimmage anybody, but as long as we get to put the pads on and start blocking and tackling I'm all happy with that."

Eagleville coach Floyd Walker said he likes the plan because there is a chance to begin the season earlier than Sept. 18, which three other contingency plans had set as the start date.

"The big thing is if this gets under control better you don't have to wait until Sept. 18," he said. "From that standpoint, everybody is in agreement with it. The whole thing is you want the kids, particularly the seniors, you want to see them play as many games as possible."

Blackman coach Kit Hartsfield admits the new contingency plan is confusing to him.

"Honestly, I don't really understand what it is," he said. "I’m glad they're going to get us started, but it's still out there and we still don't know when or where our first game is.

"If (we start early) that would be great, but I'm unsure if we're going to (heat) acclimate twice now. There are still a lot of questions."

Riverdale coach Will Kriesky has no problem with the plan but would like to know a definitive starting date.

"The frustrating thing is we don't have a start date," he said. "I wish they would work something out with the governor. I told my kids how proud of them for working so hard and not even knowing what the future holds. How many young people would practice three hours and not even know if they're going to have a season. At the end of the day we have a plan, but we still don't know when our first game is."

Oakland coach Kevin Creasy is just happy there is a plan.

"I don't really know or have a clue right now," he said. "We're just glad they've got a plan out there and they put a lot of thought into it. There just remains a lot of questions out there."

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