The Georgia Southern football team has done a great job in staying healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic. Head coach Chad Lunsford was eager to reveal the team’s latest test results, but was only able to say he felt great after Friday’s NCAA mandatory testing.
The Eagles have obviously done what they've needed to in order to stay safe in regards to their “bubble” but Monday that bubble officially burst as in person classes began at Georgia Southern. Most Eagle players will now be in close proximity to students who may not have been as careful.
“Obviously there are concerns now that we didn't have when we had our own bubble,” Lunsford said. “Moving into the classroom and academic piece the bubble becomes a little bit different. We have done a great job of telling our team how to win during the virus. I feel good about what Georgia Southern’s plan is. As long as the faculty, staff and all of us are trying to hold each other accountable I think it can work.”
“I know our guys know how to make it work,” Lunsford said. “I know if they feel uncomfortable in a situation, they just need to make sure they get that communicated. They know about wearing their masks and social distancing, and they know to communicate if things don’t feel right.”
Many classes at Georgia Southern are being split between in class and through Zoom, which allows for less in class instruction than normal. Some Eagle players are also taking online classes, so there isn’t as much face to face teaching as there has been in the past.
“I know a lot of our guys' classes will not be in a classroom setting,” Lunsford said. “Many of our guys' classes are in a Zoom setting, so they can actually sit in their bedroom and go to class. There will be some in class settings, but I believe those in class settings have already been talked about as to how they can be safe. I feel really good about the plan, and I feel like Dr. Marrero and everyone else has done a really good job.”
Many college football coaches are lobbying to find a way to keep student athletes completely out of the classroom, and give them online only classes. This is a plan Coach Lunsford would definitely get behind.
“As a football coach I would love it if our players had only online classes,” Lunsford said with a smile. “We could practice any time we wanted to, and we could work out our schedule a little bit easier. But seriously we have to do what Georgia Southern is capable of doing. I thought the University did a great job in the spring when we had to go online.”
“I do understand the need to try and get students back on campus,” Lunsford said. “I understand why we are doing that, but I do think Georgia Southern is doing a great job with the virtual plan.”
The Eagles pick up with practice on Tuesday, and are scheduled to hold another scrimmage this Saturday at Paulson Stadium.