High school football practice throughout the state of Florida was set to begin on July 27th, but amid the Coronavirues pandemic, that now has been moved to August 24th.
Matt Toblin is entering his second year as Bolles head coach and is coming off a state runner up season in 2019. Toblin joined “XL Primetime” on 1010XL to discuss many topics surrounding high school football, beginning with the Florida High School Athletic Association’s decision to change their initial vote for starting practice on July 27th.
“We completely understand both sides of the argument,” Toblin told 1010XL. “When they said that we were a good, we said, ‘ok, how are we going to make it happen,’ and we went through our plan on how to keep the kids safe during practice. We even sent an email out to the families saying we are starting on the 27th, but that doesn’t mean it’s business as usual. There were going to be a lot of layers of protection and things were going to be a lot different.
“We had a meeting with our kids last Thursday the 23rd telling them this was the last day of summer conditioning and Monday the season starts, we went through all of this and then we found out on Thursday night that it doesn’t. That’s my biggest thing, having the rug ripped out from underneath the kids.
“I get the delay because a lot of people aren’t ready and a lot of schools don’t know how they are going to run practices, I completely understand that, but to have our kids thinking they are starting on Monday and then to not was difficult.”
Toblin was also asked how high school coaches are planning on dealing with the virus during the season and if there is any protocol for high school coaches to follow.
“We are fortunate because Bolles asked us to submit a plan, if you are allowed to play, what’s it going to look like?” Toblin said. “We had to go through and identify all the points of contention. How are you going to have water breaks? How are you going to have contact drills? Are you going to have those plexiglass shields? Will there be a point where you ask the kids to mask up? We had to go through and because of their being no guidance, everyone is on an island on their own scrambling to make their plan.
“I have probably talked with 20 coaches and every single one of us is trying to, on top of preparing for a season, prepare for how we are going to run these things. There are sometimes when I talk to coaches where I’ll bring up something and they haven’t even considered it. We are all going to have to work through this because it will not be business as usual and guidance from the CDC, or the FHSAA, or someone who could tell us how to properly run practice, we would appreciate.”
Many areas of Florida are discussing a county only schedule to avoid travel, Toblin was asked his opinion on this.
“Week two we are supposed to play a team from Miami and obviously that’s not happening,” Toblin said. “Later in the year we had a game vs. a team in Leon County and they have already contacted us to say that Leon County schools will not be traveling out of Leon County. It does present some opportunities that could be really cool. If we end up not playing some of these out of the area games and it turns into us and similar schools to us are looking for games late in the season and we can make something work.
“It is awesome for us to play Daytona Beach Mainland and then in the playoffs getting to play Cocoa, but if we find ourselves in a localized playoff scenario and we pick up games late against the top teams in Clay and St. John’s County, those could be some really cool, local events that normally would not happen.
“It might turn into, let’s just play the coolest games that we can play and give the kids the best experiences that we can. It could be very different then a normal season, but it could turn into something very cool if we can work it out.”
(You can follow Ryan Green on Twitter @RyanGreen1010XL)