Saskatchewan Huskies football team facing uncertain schedule amid COVID-19 pandemic

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WATCH: The U of S Huskies football team is preparing for the possibility of no team activities prior to the start of training camp in late August – Apr 2, 2020

The Canada West football season doesn’t begin until late August but teams are already feeling the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Saskatchewan Huskies had to cancel their winter practices and it’s looking increasingly likely that their spring camp will suffer the same fate.

“Nothing has been officially [decided] but my assumption is as we get more information as we move through this pandemic day by day, that my sense is that it’s not looking good until probably summertime,” Head Coach Scott Flory said.

READ MORE: Saskatchewan Rattlers draft picks await first taste of pro basketball

That could pose a big problem, as U SPORTS rules do not allow teams to practice during the time between spring camp and the start of training camp just prior to the season.

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Spring camps are when many of the building blocks for the upcoming season are put into place. It’s the first time new recruits get to take the field and it’s when the bulk of the team’s systems are installed, giving players the summer to pore over their playbooks so they can be ready when training camp arrives.

“We have to have an opportunity for our guys to be able to get together. To train, to run, ’cause you just can’t be sitting on your couch for four months and all of a sudden show up to training camp,” Flory said.

“Three-quarters of the team would be knocked out in the first day and that just wouldn’t be smart.”

Recruiting has also been affected by the spread of COVID-19, with U SPORTS placing a moratorium on all in-person meetings.

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While most teams have already secured the majority of their recruits for the 2020 season, it’s too early to tell how the lack of in-person interaction might impact discussions between coaches and recruits who will be graduating from high school next year, and the longer the moratorium lasts, the larger the impact could be.

But for all the challenges the pandemic presents, there is at least a partial silver lining for Flory.

“The advantage is now I get the time that I normally spend over the summer re-tooling the playbook and planning and that king of stuff, where I can get ahead on some of that stuff now,” he said.

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Of course, there’s a flip side to that coin, too.

“The problem is we don’t actually get to run it to see if it works.”

In the end, all the Huskies and the rest of their Canada West counterparts can do is wait and keep things in perspective. Flory knows that eventually, there will be football again.

“There’s bigger concerns out there in the world but it’s just tough and I think the biggest thing is just that shock to the normalcy and it’s a little bit tough for guys to take right now but I know we’ll get through it.”

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Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Health officials caution against all international travel. All international travellers returning to Saskatchewan are required to self-isolate for 14 days in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others.

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.

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