Just like the rest of collegiate athletics, Auburn football is without spring practices, team workouts and now A-Day, which has been cancelled. For head coach Gus Malzahn, his spring planning and preparing does not end, it just shifts focus to classwork and health.
Malzahn and his staff were informed last Thursday that campus was moving to remote, online learning so the staff let the players know that there was no need to return to campus. The work did not end on Thursday however, as Malzahn and his coaching staff met on Monday to figure out how to move forward and operate remotely.
For now, the main goal for Auburn football is staying safe and healthy.
“It’s real simple. Our No. 1 goal is the safety and well-being of our players, Malzahn said in a teleconference Wednesday addressing coronavirus concerns. “The safety and well-being of our coaches and their families.”
Malzahn and his staff have still been in contact with the players making sure that they can continue in the classroom.
“We’ve been in constant contact, our coaches have with our players this week making sure they’re safe, making sure that they’re set up remotely to be able to start their classes and everything that goes with that,” Malzahn said.
Malzahn also said he wasn't worried about his players working out and potentially losing ground while they are at home on this delayed schedule.
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“During spring break, they had some little things they could do but this week it’s all been about just health and safety,” Malzahn said. “We’ve put the football on the backburner and just making sure that they’re safe and protected.”
At some point, Malzahn and his staff will come up with a plan to get the players the workouts and gym time that they will need but it will be on a week-to-week basis. The staff meets every Monday and Friday but with social distancing being recommended state and nationwide, a gym is not the place they want to send players right now.
The logistics of when spring practice and workouts can resume, or even if they will be able to happen at all, are still being figured out by both the SEC and NCAA. For Malzahn, his biggest concern is just making sure that his players and coaching staff stay healthy and safe.
“We’re prepared for that when it is time as far as the football goes and the installs and all that," Malzahn said. “We’re definitely prepared to do that online away from the place. Like I said this week, until it’s the proper time, it’s just going to be focused on the health and safety of our players.”
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