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Pac-12 Football: Coaches Say 6 Weeks of Prep a Minimum Before 1st Game

Utah's Kyle Whittingham, UCLA's Karl Dorrell, Washington's Jimmy Lake are in different regions with different situations and different ideas about when training should start
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Pac-12 football coaches seem to agree that six weeks is the minumum training camp time players would need before playing a game, but there is disagreement about when training in advance of preseason camps should begin based on the different rules in different regions.

For Cal, a six-week training camp would have to begin by mid-July to be ready for the Aug. 29 opener at UNLV, although it's uncertain whether the season will start as scheduled. It's also uncertain when each Pac-12 school will allow students back on campus, and it is possible that some schools will return to on-campus eduation before others.

That creates an equity issue regarding athletic training, and Washington coach Jimmy Lake, Utah coach Kyle Whittingham and Colorado coach Karl Dorrell, who were featured on Tuesday's Pac-12 webinar, are perfect representatives for the issue.

(You can watch the entire 30-minute video webinar above.)

King County, where Seattle and the University of Washington are located, has had more than 7,000 cases of coronavirus and 505 resulting deaths, while the entire state of Utah has had fewer than 6,500 cases and 67 deaths from the virus.

It stands to reason that the University of Utah might have students back on campus before the University of Washington does. So can the Utes start getting football players in shape before the Huskies do?

"That's a great question," Lake said. "I'm of the opinion it would be great if the whole NCAA made a blanket rule for the whole nation of when we would start. And I understand that some states may be hit less by this than most, and I'm sure there's going to be some different opinions after me.

"We have a nonconferene game to start out. If they were able to practice two months before we were able to practice, that would be a disadvantage."

Whittingham is in a different situation at Utah and, not surprisingly, has a different opinion.

"I don't believe that players that have the availability and the opportunity to train should be whithheld from them," Whittingham said. "There's imbalances and inequities all across the board in the NCAA--facility-wise, recruiting base--nothing is really equal when you really look at it.

"I would hate to see athletes just sitting around that you could be training and getting ready for the season just because other places aren't to that point.

"Now, the lead-in time to the season needs to be the same [for all schools]--six weeks, seven weeks whatever, that needs to be mandated."

Here is an audio of the three coaches' discussion on that issue:

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There was unanimity on how much time teams should have in terms of organized practice before the first game.

"We've talked as coaches in the conference, and I think the sentiment is pretty much six weeks would be a minumum," Whittingham said.

They would all like more time, but could live with six weeks and would probably deal with the problems if they are given less than six weeks to prepare their teams.

Lake said the first two weeks of that would be getting the players in shape before implementation of schemes.

Here'is the audio for that discussion:

All three of these coaches would like more preparation time because all three must choose a new starting quarterback. And all three have three players vying for that starting spot after losing their 2019 starter at the position.

The quarterback competition is made more difficult at Colorado and Washington because neither had any spring practices and both have new head coaches. Utah is slightly better because it has a returning head coach and had three spring practices.

Dorrell said he would like to have eight weeks of of prerparation before the first game--"a month of training and conditioning and a month of training camp."

But he added, "I don't think we're getting anything lose to that."

Here is the audio of Dorrell's comments: