A JERSEY GUY: The Frustrations of a FB Coach in the COVID-19 Era

Mark Blaudschun

Randy Edsall's tolerance level is reaching its limit.

The UConn Football coach, like his FBS brethren, is dealing with an upcoming season which might not ever start and, if it does will be filled with detours.

But that is not the main source of Edsall's frustration.

From the beginning of what was termed a "restart'' of college football with conditioning drills in June, Edsall kept repeating one question. 

"Shouldn't the players have a say in all of this,'' he asked in almost a rhetorical fashion.

That was in June.

Now it is August and crunch time, summer/fall practice is scheduled to start on Wednesday.

There are more than rumors that UConn, serving the lonely life of an independent in football this season, may close shop for the season.

Over the weekend, Edsall again repeated his frustration with dealing with all the restrictions--locker room, meetings, weight room, slow testing results--he and his staff have to deal with.

"We've had 11 workouts thus far and I don't think I've had more than 20 percent of my players attend all of them,'' he said, going through an offensive skill position list in which no more than 2 percent of his players participated in all the practices.

Can we use our own locker room?  

If we travel, what quarantine procedures are we dealing with?

How do we control this if and when the students come back on campus?

Edsall has had meetings with his players, asking them to express their concerns. The consensus was that the players want some assurances that they will be able to do what is necessary to prepare for the season.

Edsall met with school officials, who met with state officials to discuss the options, the primary one being to simply shut down football for the 2020 season.

UConn, with its independent status (they are a member of the Big East in other sports) has already lost games against Power 5 schools such as Indiana and Illinois and Mississippi and will probably lose games against Virginia and North Carolina.

With no league obligations, UConn can pull the plug whenever it wishes, but thus far no one is willing to make that call, with a strong feeling spreading that UConn, like many schools, is waiting for the NCAA or someone else (in UConn's case Big East) to make the call to shut down fall championships.

Such a move would shift the responsibility from the state and UConn administration.

Edsall is not happy with the delay, stating it is not fair to keep the players in limbo, especially when they are taking the biggest risk.

If there is a cone of silence about responsibility over the next 48 hours, do not be surprised if Edsall makes the call himself, backed up by players who want a say in what they are doing.

That trend has already developed among players in the SEC and over the weekend in a larger fashion in the Pac-12.

By Wednesday, it very will have reached New England and UConn.

"Can we please do what's really right for these kids?'' asked Edsall. 

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Mark Blaudschun

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