Johnson C. Smith football returns after missing 2020 due to the pandemic
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - While the college football season happened for the majority of schools across the nation in 2020, Johnson C. Smith skipped a year on the grid iron due to the pandemic. Which has brought a new appreciation for this year as they prepare to get back on the field September 11th.
Johnson C. Smith head football coach Kermit Blount has been coaching college football since 1984.
“Last year was the first season that I’ve been in it that we didn’t play football,” said coach.
36 straight years and then the pandemic hits. A long year and a half for both he and his players as they too were without football for 17 months.
“It was a real empty feeling,” said Blount.
So needless to say, everyone is thrilled to be back on the practice field this summer even though it’s in 90 degree heat. But with that heat and the long layoff from the everyday grind of a football season, coach has used a cautious preparation to try to avoid injury.
“Day one, they wanted to go full at it,” said coach. “As a player, I wish I was playing at this time because this is one of the easiest camps that our guys have been through.”
There hasn’t been a lot of hitting at the start of camp, but now a few weeks into it, business is starting to pick up.
“We’ve picked the pace up a little bit. And we’re picking the pace up not so much doing outright conditioning. We’re picking the pace up in football play. We’re probably at 85% as far as being where we need to be.”
So the Golden Bulls are just about ready to play.
BUT, the pandemic is not over as the Delta variant is still hanging around. So there is still a little fear that things could be shut down again. But the lingering possibility has coach seeing a different type of student-athlete on the practice field these days.
“I think it opens a lot of eyes and gives guys a little bit more focus on playing the game. They really understand this could be your last play.”
With that comes a greater appreciation for this game of football, but the wait to play will have to wait a little longer.
A vast majority of college football will start next week, but JCSU will have to wait another week before they kick their season off as they will host Allen University on September 11th.
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