ALLENDALE, Mich. — Despite the ongoing pandemic, college football is currently still scheduled for this fall, leaving teams around the country preparing for the season as best as they can. At Grand Valley, the players just returned to campus for the first time in months.
"Is there a possibility things could get shut down? Yeah, I'm aware of that," said head coach Matt Mitchell, "but right now, I'm preparing for a season."
The team got back to work Tuesday morning, hitting the field for a conditioning assessment.
"We're doing a simple push up and sit up test to see where they're at," Mitchell added, "we're not doing any lifting because of the guys didn't have access to a weight room."
The assessments were broken up into groups of ten to allow for proper social distancing and the team is being smart about who each player is around.
"We started with the local guys first," said Mitchell, "we're trying to have roommates lift with roommates, then we brought in the next wave that wanted to come back, pretty much based on geography."
For players like Grand Rapids native Antonio Strong, getting back on the field for something as simple as an assessment meant everything.
"That was an exciting feeling," Strong smiled, "to be back out here running with the boys again, just getting. to see them. I haven't seen them in probably three months, since school ended."
The program is doing symptom checks every day when the players arrive to the stadium and a few players have already tested negative, according to Coach Mitchell. The coaches and training staff are doing all they can to keep the players safe.
"How do we mitigate the risks of the transmission of the virus with our team without putting them at a disadvantage of playing the game," Mitchell said. "It's a day process, we walk that line every day."
The team will remain in small and separate groups as they build up to fall camp on August 10.