As we continue to look forward to the 2020 Big 12 football season, Texas Tech football fans should get to know these opposing offensive players because they will be tough to handle this fall.
In what is already an offseason unlike any we could have ever imagined, the almost daily soap opera that is the summer of 2020 continues to have so many twists and turns that it would make the writers of The Young and the Restless shake their heads in disbelief. But through it all, Texas Tech football fans and the rest of the nation continue to look towards the fall with optimism.
Recent events though have once again given us cause to wonder if the season will be played as scheduled. That’s because the situations on campuses around the country continue to change as teams have begun welcoming athletes back for summer workouts.
Perhaps the most significant news since the return of the athletes to their home campuses has come from Manhattan, Kansas. That’s where Kansas State has suspended all summer workouts due to the number of players that have tested positive for COVID-19.
As of last Friday, 14 of the 130 athletes tested from all KSU sports had come up positive for COVID-19 prompting all organized training activities to be halted.
“The health and well-being of our student-athletes will always be our top priority,” K-State athletic director Gene Taylor said. “Following the most recent test results, we felt like temporarily pausing all football workouts and access to our facilities was the best decision for everyone. We continue to take this situation very seriously and want to do everything we can to get back to workouts soon.”
Of course, KSU is not the only program with positive tests. In fact, many programs around the nation, and several in the Big 12 have released statements about positive tests within their football programs. Just a week ago, Texas Tech football issued a press release to confirm positive tests within its ranks.
In part, the release reads: “Each student-athlete who has tested positive has been self-isolated in accordance with CDC guidelines and City of Lubbock Health Department procedures for a positive test, including contact tracing. As part of Texas Tech’s established health and safety procedures, those who tested positive will receive daily monitoring from the athletic department’s sports medicine staff and team physicians.”
Still, at least one Big 12 athletics director is saying what all college football fans want to hear. Sunday, TCU AD Jeremiah Donati said that he remains confident that there will be a 2020 football season.
“I am still confident we will play this fall. We all anticipate positive tests and the possibility of having to isolate individuals,” Donati told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “Our protocols are solid and well thought out. Managing that will be our reality this year.”
Should the season proceed as scheduled, doing with Donati says and managing the coronavirus will become the greatest and most unique challenge any program has ever faced. After all, sprained knees, pulled muscles, or concussions have the power to derail a season for any team and they aren’t contagious.
Just imagine what might happen if the entire starting offensive line or secondary for one team is lost for two or three games due to COVID-19. Never will the injury report be more critical to a season that it appears it will be this fall.
But still, our collective sanity as sports fans seems to be hinging on football to be what helps return us to normalcy. The loss of the college basketball postseason and almost all of the college baseball season were bitter pills to swallow but the general refrain from fans around the nation was that so long as we have football in the fall, we will be able to weather this storm.
So that’s why we continue to look towards the season and assume it will take place. It isn’t that we don’t realize that nothing is guaranteed but rather, it is that for many of us, our ability to cope with this unfathomable reality is tied to our hope in football’s return and as theologian Lewis B. Smedes once said, “Hope is to our spirits what oxygen is to our lungs. Lose hope and you die.”
Therefore, let us focus on what we might see in 2020 and get to know some Big 12 players on offense that Texas Tech fans should be prepared for this fall. These players are primed for big years and keeping them in check will a huge challenge for the Red Raider defense.