Rod Carey adapts to spring practice cancellation

Temple football’s spring practices were canceled due to the outbreak of COVID-19 and Temple University shutting down all athletic activities.

During a regular spring semester, coach Rod Carey would arrive at the Temple football facility on 10th and Diamond Streets at 5 a.m. Now, his day starts at 8 a.m. when his kids get up to do school work, Carey said. 

The Owls had finished two practices without pads before the outbreak of COVID-19 forced the University to move classes online and send students home. 

“They were great practices for, you know, being in your underwear,” Carey said. “But, we probably could have snuck a padded one in before this all hit, but nobody’s mind would have been in when this all came down that Wednesday that we practiced.”

Carey is not worried about missing spring practice since every team across the country is “in the same boat” and he hopes to get the team back on campus by June 1, he said.

Even if the team does return before June 1, they may not start practicing right away. 

“You got to start back with that base and then there’s certainly has to be a football component into that to make up for what you missed,” Carey said. “But that I don’t think that will be practice and I don’t think it should be necessarily either being that close to the season.”

The week of March 15, the team was still holding in-person meetings. The offense met at Carey’s house while the defense met at defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Jeff Knowles’ house, Carey said. 

Carey made the switch to have team meetings on Zoom so he wouldn’t make his neighbors “paranoid” with all of the cars outside, he said. 

All of the players have now gone back home or are staying in off-campus housing around Main Campus. The only player still on Main Campus is redshirt-freshman offensive lineman Victor Stoffel, who is from Sweden, Carey said.

The team uses a GroupMe chat to share videos of themselves working out around their houses. One video showed redshirt-freshman offensive linemen Wisdom Quarshie throwing tree stumps, Carey said. 

Some players are putting cinder blocks in backpacks and using them to do squats, Carey added. 

With the players working out at home, Carey feels the staff is further along in the recruiting process than normal as the coaching staff has been able to spend more time recruiting players.

“We text them, tell him to Zoom us and do things like that,” Carey said. “We’re getting very creative on that side as far as the, uh, you know, virtual content we can do.”

Even during a normal spring season, Carey would only be allowed to electronically communicate with recruits until April 15, he said. 

Carey’s message to the players already on the team is to try and stay positive about the situation. 

“Checking in on the phone calls and just looking at the bright side,” Carey said. “Checking in and making sure their family is healthy, making sure they’re doing well, what’s their routine, keeping the message, right now it’s all messaging.”

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