It’s no secret a few universities around the country are struggling to deal with on-campus outbreaks of Covid19.
Three ACC teams are currently dealing with outbreaks. Everyone is trying to find the right answer on how to keep players safe while on campus.
If you ask Tennessee players, though, they feel comfortable in the environment that their school has presented.
Henry To’o To’o said today during a media session, “for a lot of players, and I can count myself in this if we were to be able to go home, who knows what we would be doing. We wouldn’t be on a time schedule; we wouldn’t be responsible to go to things and be held accountable to be able to do things on our own, so we would probably be out doing things, traveling, probably doing something with our family that we shouldn’t be doing here. You guys have seen that all throughout Twitter and social media that people want to be here. They want to be here, and it feels like a safe environment, and I can speak for myself that I feel safe here. I feel that the medical staff has done a tremendous job to be able to ensure my safety, and I trust them with all that I’ve got.”
Henry added, “I can speak for myself that I feel safe here. I feel that the medical staff has done a tremendous job to be able to ensure my safety, and I trust them with all that I’ve got.”
When asked how the last few months have been for him and his teammates, To’o To’o said, “the past three months have just been all over the place. A lot of uncertainty. So, to be able to come back this week and to be able to play ball, it gives us a sense of normalcy. We’re out there ballin’ like we always do on a daily basis. We’re out there playing with each other, so it feels good. It’s a blessing to be able to be out there. I can’t really put it into words how it feels to be out there and play some ball. You just got to feel it, and if you were in our shoes, you would understand.”
Eric Gray is a player that Tennessee is counting on to help lead this offense on the ground this season. Gray is also making it known that he wants to be a leader off-field, especially during these Covid times of being accountable.
“We definitely have to do that. The coaches can say it all they want, but they’re not there when we leave the facility. We have some guys that live with each other, some guys that stay with each other, go over there all the time and that’s what we have to do; this is the season where we have to have the most leaders we’ve ever had, or everything is going to go to waste. All our hard work is going to go to waste if we don’t. Everyone has to watch over their brother, have a little neighborhood watch on the team for everyone to just make sure that everyone is doing the right thing.”
Gray was adamant that the team is working together to prevent outbreaks among the team, “wearing their mask when they’re out, not going to parties, not putting themselves in jeopardy for each other. You ultimately have to look out for your teammates. You don’t want to go out and jeopardize yourself and jeopardize the rest of your teammates.”
Brandon Kennedy came back to Tennessee for his sixth year. He knows how big this season is for his opportunity to play at the next level. Kennedy knows the team needs to follow the protocols set forth, “when we first got back, there were a lot of questions as to how we would do things. As we got into it, guys got more comfortable. We’re to the point now where we’re able to know what the protocol is, know the guidelines, and we’re able to follow it. It allows us to continue on like normal, but we have different protocols we follow as far as social distancing, wearing masks in public and at practice.”
College Football needs all the help they can get, and the players understand this. If they’re going to get to September 26th, It’s up to them to do everything they can to help.
All images courtesy of Tennessee Athletic Communications