During a summer of confusion and uncertainty, the Coyote football team always had one concrete item on their agenda: practice.
After moving back onto campus in early June the football team began focusing on their 2020 campaign in hopes of making it to the playoffs. After a full summer of social distancing in and out of Coyote facilities the team was fully prepared for the fall season.
Concluding, the first day of fall camp on Aug. 7 the MVFC announced due to COVID-19 uncertainties the league wouldn’t be competing this fall. The announcement shortly followed the NCAA tournament guidelines that at least 50% of teams would have to play a full season for a championship, which was no longer feasible.
“It was weird for sure, leading up to it we felt like the season was for sure a possibility,” senior wide receiver Caleb Vander Esch said. “But every day we were getting information that was different from the previous day. It was for sure shocking but to say it was completely unexpected would be false.”
Throughout the summer and into fall the team relied on each other and the training process and expect that support to continue this fall, Vander Esch said.
“We just got to go with the flow now,” Vander Esch said. “We’re taking it day by day, we know as of right now that we’re going to practice tomorrow.”
The team is waiting for the NCAA to provide guidance on what the practice situation is going to look like for the fall semester without a season.
Knowing there wasn’t going to be a championship to be played for this fall made the decision to move to the spring bearable senior linebacker, Jack Cochrane said.
“The prospect of playing for a championship is what every team strives for, so the idea of playing the fall season without a championship was probably the least popular,” Cochrane said.
This fall the Coyotes plan to stay honed in and focus on missed training opportunities to prepare for the spring slate. The team will focus on training opportunities they may have missed out on for the spring.
“We were here working out all summer and while it might not help us right now it will benefit us down the road somewhere,” Cochrane said.
The prolonged fall training will also allow the freshman and transfers to adapt to college the best way they can Vander Esch said.
“They are doing pretty well, they have been through the craziest transition and process and I can’t even imagine where their heads all are,” Vander Esch said.
Cochrane said he is really proud of them all because of their hard work and focused mentalities.
“They were balling out and putting their all into it,” Cochrane said. “I don’t hear much from them about feeling sorry for themselves or pouting at all, they have been thrown the extreme route of uncertainty, on top of it being their first time experiencing college and it’s pretty mindblowing the way they’ve handled it.”
As of now, the Coyote football team is focused on playing the 2021 slate of games and excelling to make it into the playoffs. The MVFC will play a full eight-game spring league schedule with the expectation to culminate the season with the FCS playoffs, according to the MVFC release.
“If we do have games and everything works out like it’s planned we just got to go out and execute as well as we can,” Vander Esch said. “Hopefully, we make it to the playoffs and go for the championship. Right now we just have to keep progressing to get us in a position where we can execute well, and dominate the spring.”