TROY, Ala. (WSFA) - Good news for Troy University this week, as the football team is returning to campus to practice for the first time since March.
But, thanks to the coronavirus, things won’t look the same as years past.
“I think [returning to campus] is a step in the right direction for sure, but we’re gonna do it very cautiously and conservatively to make sure everything is in the best interest of our players,” said Troy University head football coach Chip Lindsey.
Practices will be completely voluntary, so athletes can choose to not return to campus; but those interested in coming to summer workouts will be allowed back at the university starting June 1, and they’ll be welcomed with some changes. When they arrive, players and coaches will be tested for COVID-19.
Additional changes include regular sanitation of equipment and workout facilities, and no groups larger than 15 people. Troy University Athletic Director Brent Jones says this is standard practice from across the conference.
“This isn’t just what Troy is doing. I’m on calls with ADs from the Sun Belt Conference, as well as Autonomy Five, as well as the Group of Five constantly to get what the best practice is and how we can ensure the safety of our student-athletes, coaches and staff,” said Jones.
While it will be a slow transition back to normal, the program says coming back to campus now is vital in preparing for the 2020 season.
“From my standpoint, I think it’s just a little peace of mind to know we’re organizing a training regimen that prepares them for what we’re gonna do in in July or August,” said Lindsey.
“There’s a growing sense that if we can have our student-athletes here, we know what they’re doing and we can take care of them,” added Jones.
The Trojans will pick up where they left off this spring, searching for their starting QB and a few other positions, but there’s still some unknowns as they get back on the field.
“I think we have a mature team and a team that’s excited to get on the field for 2020,” said Lindsey. “We’re gonna obviously have several position battles at the O-line spot and at quarterback, and then on defense in the secondary. Obviously that was an area we needed to improve on, and I think we did that in recruiting. At the same time, we haven’t been on the field with all of them yet, so we’re still waiting to see.”
Troy is scheduled to kick off 2020 hosting Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Sept. 5.