Troup gears up for return of players
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
They’re as ready as they can be.
Thanks to a decision by the Georgia High School Association, sports teams in the state can begin holding voluntary summer conditioning on Monday, although there will be plenty of guidelines in place.
With those guidelines in mind, Troup High’s coaches gathered in the school’s indoor practice facility on Tuesday to get everything in place for the arrival of the players next week.
It was in essence a test run, with Troup head coach Tanner Glisson making sure all of the coaches know what their responsibilities will be on Monday for the first day of summer conditioning.
While it won’t be business as usual, Glisson will be glad to have the players back in the fold after an absence of more than two months because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“It’s great just to see the guys, and get back to a little bit of normalcy,” said Glisson, who is heading into his sixth season as Troup’s head coach. “And we’ve got to be careful that we’re doing it right. We want to hug them when they walk in the door, and that’s probably not going to be allowed. So all those things come into play. But we’re excited about it, and the kids seem extremely excited. And hopefully this can be the first step toward a lot of healing in a lot of ways.”
Groups of 20 people will be allowed at each workout session, and that includes players and coaches, although Glisson will be permitted to be in the facility in a monitoring capacity.
At Troup, those groups will consist of 18 players and two coaches.
As soon as the players begin arriving Monday morning, the process will begin.
“When the kids come in on Monday, only one kid can walk in at a time,” Glisson said, standing next to the tables that will serve as a check-in station. “They’ll walk to this table. The two coaches responsible for that pod will be at these two desks. The first thing they’ll do is shoot them with a temperature gun. If they register 100.3, then they have to turn right and meet me down here with a trainer, and I’ll get on the phone with momma and say come back and get him, he can’t participate today, he has a fever. If he checks in good, he will go to this next table which will be a questionnaire provided by the GHSA with four questions.”
Glisson said that Lynn Kendall, one of Troup’s coaches, will be at another table to “take physical forms, insurance money, any of those kind of things.”
When all of the preliminaries are done, the players can get to work.
“They’ll go down to the end zone where they’ll be prepared to stretch,” Glisson said. “Once we get all 18 guys checked in, these two coaches can take their masks off if they choose to do so, and they’ll go down here and stretch those guys. They’ll have a stretching routine, and they’ll split between the indoor facility and the weight room.”
When the first workout group is done, an extensive cleaning process will take place, with all of the workout equipment getting sanitized.
Then the next group will go through the same process, and that will be repeated throughout the day until all of the players have worked out.
Considering the challenges involved, Glisson is grateful to be able to work with a group of coaches he believes in.
“We feel like we’re really prepared,” Glisson said. “That’s the great thing about this staff. We have a lot of coaches that bring different strengths to the table. So, we really charged Kendall and (Eddie) Lawson with helping with the protocols because of their military background. So the thing they presented us was a 16-page protocol. We feel really good about where we are.”
Troup is preparing for a season that will begin in a little more than two months.
The Tigers went 6-5 last season and lost in the first round of the state playoffs, and they’ve won 35 games over the past four years.
“The good thing is for us we have a lot of returning starters, especially on the offensive line,” Glisson said. “We will be breaking in a new quarterback, but we’ll put him in front of a veteran offensive line with four of five starters coming back. That makes you feel really good. And the one great thing is, almost our entire coaching staff is back. Two years ago coming off the semifinal run, we lost several coaches, so these guys have been with us for over a year now, so that makes this particular time a little bit easier.”