College football players around the country will be allowed to return to campus, starting in June, to participate in voluntary workouts. Barring any setbacks, they’ll begin organized practices in preparation for the season later in the summer.
The NCAA is still working out the details of football’s return, but the current best guess is that there will be a six-week training camp to help prepare teams for the start of the season.
In the first episode of the new weekly video feature SI All-American TV, Sports Illustrated’s national recruiting director for football, John Garcia and commentator and former NFL and college coach Jim Mora Jr. discuss the plan to prepare players for a season in six weeks.
“I think six weeks is probably doable,” Mora said. “I think there’s a lot of factors you have to consider.”
A major factor is the fact that players haven’t had the option of staying on campus to participate in offseason conditioning work using the team’s facilities. Instead, they’ve been working at home, as best they can.
“You can’t count on every single player on your team at the collegiate level to come back and be in top conditioning,” Mora said. “Some of the players are going to need more time to get their bodies ready, but I think six weeks gives you enough time.”
“If you want good quality football,” he continued. “If you want fans to tune in and say, ‘These are young men who are prepared. This is fun to watch,’ it’s just going to take a little bit of time. Players would say, ‘We could step on the field tomorrow and just hit it and get it, but I just don’t know if that’s practical.”
One thing Mora thinks teams would need is for the NCAA to loosen restrictions on how much time each day players can spend working on football.
“They need the time in the weight room, in meetings, out there hitting each other a little bit, building up some gristle,” Mora said. “I think coaches, this day and age, are smart enough to know we can’t just go pound our guys.”