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How shortened summer training will impact college football, players

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Larry Kehres won 332 football games, claimed 11 Division III national championships, collected nine coach of the year awards and holds the highest winning percentage in college football history. And he did it all without spring practice and summer training. In fact, some summers, Kehres, now 70 and retired as coach of Mount Union, didn’t do much football at all. “Coached little league baseball,” he laughs. “Summers were different.”

This summer might not be so different. Accustomed to having their players on campus for June and July, Division I coaches might not see them until August. That’s not the half of it. Before the coronavirus pandemic shuttered the sports world, most of them didn’t reach the halfway point in spring practice and some never even started drills. As campus closures extend through summer, a date to begin organized football activities grows hazier. Many coaches have gone four weeks without seeing their players, an absence that could stretch to at least three months by the end of the outbreak. Teaching is relegated to videos, meetings are electronic and training is at the discretion of the player.

“I go back to 25 years ago when it was not the norm for the players to be on campus during the summer,” says South Florida coach Jeff Scott. “Everybody went home after spring and came back for camp. You had a month of practices. We might find ourselves in that situation again.”

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