As the threat of COVID-19 continues to loom over the world, every coach in the nation is preparing for every situation regarding college football.
One of the possibilities for which coaches and analysts have begun preparing for is no football in the fall. Though it’s a worst case scenario, many believe the NCAA will not be played in the fall, including ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit, who shared a similar opinion on ESPN radio: “I’ll be shocked,” Herbstreit said. “I haven’t talked with anybody, but I’ll be shocked if we have NFL football this fall, if we have college football. I’ll be so surprised if that happens.”
Despite the speculation from some, Florida Atlantic head coach Willie Taggart has not discussed the possibility with FAU’s athletic department or the Conference USA.
“No, we haven’t talked about that. We have some months to go before we get to that,” Taggart said in a conference call with reporters on Monday. “I’m sure, at the end of the day, we’re going to do what’s best for humanity and making sure that everyone is okay before we do anything. I think that’s the most important thing.”
Football is Life
Football has long been a constant in Taggart’s life. Taggart was a quarterback for Manatee High School (Fla.) and Western Kentucky. He then begun his coaching career in 1998 with his alma mater. After Lane Kiffin left for Ole Miss in December, Taggart was hired by FAU as their head coach.
Now, Taggart admits that he can’t imagine the country without college football in the fall.
“That’s America’s sport. Everybody gets excited when football season comes around,” Taggart said. “It’s like Christmas. The whole country changes. So it’ll be interesting but again, we gotta think about people’s lives and our health because, without that, there won’t be any football regardless.”
Staying on Schedule
The 2020 college football season is set to kick off August 29. FAU’s opening game against Minnesota is scheduled for Thursday, September 3. Over the weekend, Donald Trump reportedly said the NFL would likely be able to continue with their scheduled kickoff of September 10.
Without spring practice, Taggart and his coaching staff have faced an unprecedented situation. In an attempt to teach players his system and build relationships, Taggart and his staff have utilized Zoom, a meeting app. Outside of football, Taggart has continued to keep his players informed of the current situation.
“It’s been tough. For myself personally, been trying to find just as much information as you can about what’s going on. So when you do talk to your players, you’re making sure that you’re delivering positive and informative information to our guys,” Taggart explained. “Also trying to do our part to help this thing get over with. Educate our guys, staying away, washing your hands for 20 seconds.”
“Keep the Faith”
When asked about his advice to people struggling during these unprecedented events, Taggart urged fans to keep the faith.
“Keep faith, we’re going to get through this,” Taggart said. “We get through everything else, we’ll get through it together. It’s tough, but we just got to keep faith and try to protect our loved ones.”