CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - On Monday, Charlotte 49ers football players were allowed back on campus to begin voluntary strength and conditioning workouts.
“There’s definitely, from a football perspective, some light at the end of the tunnel,” said Charlotte 49ers head coach Will Healy. “Having an opportunity to get some guys back on campus and some coaches back on campus has been a breath of fresh air.”
But still being in a pandemic has made these workouts a bit different for everyone involved.
All workouts take place outside in groups of 10 with a strength and conditioning coach. Even the Niners weight room is currently outside of the football center. There is no sharing of equipment and a strict sanitation protocol for weights.
“I feel great about what our staff and our administration has done to create a protocol for testing them and how to stay safe when they are working out,” said coach. “What happens if we have a positive test because it’s not if, but when. So I have some confidence in that.”
A lot of programs around the nation started their workouts last week and some have already reported positive cases of COVID-19. The Niners are doing everything they can to hopefully not add their name to that list. It’s important to note that these workouts are voluntary and if players don’t feel safe, they don’t have to participate.
In an effort to keep the numbers down during these workouts, the NCAA doesn’t allow coaches to be on the field. Coach Healy can’t watch the workouts, doesn’t even get a report on who is actually out on the field, nor does he get a report on the progress players are making. He can’t have face to face contact with the players either. He can hold zoom team meetings and position meetings.
On July 1st, players will hopefully be allowed back in the football center and at that point, the weight room will move back in house.
On July 13th, coach will be able to rejoin the players for face to face interaction and hopefully on July 24th, the Niners will hit the field for their first practice.
They will start the season on September 5th when they are at Tennessee. That is if everything goes as plan with the pandemic still very prominent.
“My mentality this entire time has been we’re going to play a football season. We’re going to keep our guys safe. We’re going to make sure we don’t sacrifice one just to be good at the other. I’m excited to have the chance to be around them. When we get our first opportunity to be back around them and coach our players out on the field, it will be a lot of fun for me.”