It won’t be easy, and it will require diligence from everyone, but Penn State players and coaches know what they have to do in order to stay safe and avoid coronavirus issues with the start of football season.
“The daily testing is a critical piece,” James Franklin said during a Zoom call Wednesday.
The Big Ten Conference has entered into strategic partnerships with Biodesix, Inc. and Quidel Corporation to provide comprehensive surveillance testing for SARS-CoV-2 for all student-athletes and staff personnel involved in close contact sport competition: https://t.co/giNV9IN15B
— Big Ten Conference (@bigten) September 30, 2020
But the daily testing comes with a potential hiccup with regards to people being overconfident.
“The feedback that I’ve gotten from other coaches and other leagues and even other sports is that, once people started testing every day, people made mistakes that they could go back to living like normal because, I’m being tested every day,” Franklin said.
Just getting tested, though, won’t be enough.
It will come down to smart decisions and leadership, with everyone on the team holding one another accountable for their actions to limit any potential spread.
“When we leave the facility, we won’t be able to watch every single person,” receiver Jahan Dotson said over the summer. “So guys are gonna have to be accountable for themselves, knowing that they’re at risk any time they’re in public with other people. So we’re gonna have to be cautious with things like that. We’re gonna have to see the bigger picture in all this and know that we have something going for ourselves that we always need to keep in the back of our mind when we’re thinking about going out.”
Franklin told a story of how he recently saw five players walking downtown. Four of them were wearing a mask, which the coach called “awesome.”
But all five should have been wearing a mask, and Franklin pointed that out to the lone holdout later on, calling the player to remind him how important it is for safety reasons.
Penn State’s internal COVID protocols “allows us every single day to manage the office and to manage the playing field to make sure that we have as clean a playing surface and office as we possibly can,” Franklin said.
“But I still want to make sure we’re making all the other choices when we’re away from Penn State football.”