Usually the chatter in summer workouts is what a team’s goals are, like whether they will win district or make it to state.
But the first question by one of the players at Travis High School – or any high school in Texas – is, “Are we going to have a season?”
That is the question, but for now, the Tigers are glad to be back for summer workouts to prepare for the 2020 season, even with the COVID-19 pandemic still hovering over everything.
Travis head coach Trey Sissom was not at Wednesday’s practice for a medical procedure, but defensive coordinator Clayton Odom was running the workouts and keeping an eye on things.
“So far, we have had over 60 kids a session,” Odom said. “We have to get the kids prepared for the season, and the kids are excited to be here.”
Travis coaches are taking their cues from Fort Bend ISD officials, which allowed student-athletes to participate in workouts on Monday. The district set up its own guidelines, which included filling out a screening questionnaire that students must fill out before participating in any workout.
“They have to fill out the questionnaire before they get here,” Odom said.
But the workouts are following the guidelines that the UIL set for all Texas schools. All players brought their own water to drink, coaches and players wipe down and sanitize all the workout equipment that was previously used and everyone had to practice social distancing.
The only problem at the workouts was keeping the students to social distance, but nothing else.
“It’s all about safety. We know we have to be flexible and can’t be set in your ways,” Odom said.
The workouts are split between three stations. Two stations are in the Travis football/soccer stadium, where one group works on stretching by going up and over very slowly through a set of hurdles. The other station has players pushing a sled on the ground for 20 yards, go around a cone and come back. Another station is adjacent to the stadium as players run up and down a hill.
There’s a lot of incentive for Travis to play this season. The Tigers went undefeated in the regular season with a senior-laden team, especially on offense.
But just like the last three years, Travis lost its first-round playoff game, a gut-wrenching loss to Katy Tompkins.
Odom said that even though the Tigers will have to replace some skill players on offense and at linebacker, both the offensive and defensive lines will have size and skill.
“We would love to have a preseason. We have a lot of unproven kids that need some work, but they’re very talented,” Odom said. “Physically, we’re there. We just have to get there mentally and merging them together.”