MTSU football players returning, beginning workouts

RICK STOCKSTILL

MTSU football players are gradually working their way back to campus and will be allowed to resume conditioning workouts.

"We started taking our baby steps Monday, June 1, and 40 football players come back to be tested," MTSU Athletics Director Chris Massaro said. "Once we got their results they were free to work out. We have set up a check point in Murphy Center. When you enter, we take your temperature and ask you the questions and give you a wrist band. Then they can go to the weight room or training room.

"This past Monday we had 17 guys that came in and we're waiting on some of the results on COVID-19. Every week we're going integrate a few more and a few more."

MTSU coach Rick Stockstill said the initial workouts have been held outside.

"I think the big this is the guys coming back so far did a really good job in March, April and May," he said. "They've done their workouts, running and lifting where they could. My concern coming back is everyone is not the same. Some don't have the opportunities or access to equipment that other so.

"The prevention of soft tissue injries is my biggest concern, especially the first couple of weeks. We have two groups -- one in the morning and one in the afternoon -- of 20 running and lifting. We've moved the weights outside because we didn't want to put a lot of people inside too early. ... They'll also be able do some throwing and catching and individual deals."

Two NCAA committees have already passed legislation that would allow football programs six weeks of practice instead of four. The final vote will be held June 17.

"I'm pretty optimistic that we'll be approved for six weeks, but I don't know for sure right now," Stockstill said. "But if we start a couple of weeks early it will be under limited time restrictions on what you can and can't do.

"I think being able to be around your guys since you didn't have spring practice and haven't had a lot of contact with them over the past few months, it will be good to get back out there a little earlier."

Football coaches aren't allowed to be present at workouts but strength and conditioning and trainers can be during this period.

"Right now, we're back in the office and we meet as a staff and we're all wearing masks," Stockstill said. "Some of the players are back but we're not meeting with them face to face. We're still having meetings over Zoom."

Massaro said the annual Fan Day likely won't be held this year due to social distancing issues. The Blue Raiders are scheduled to open the season Sept. 5 at Duke.

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