Tom Herman optimistic about about playing this fall as team’s positive case numbers dwindle

Football

Texas Athletic Director Chris Del Conte, left, talks with head coach Tom Herman before an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Nov. 3, 2018, in Austin, Texas. (AP Photo/Michael Thomas)

HOUSTON (KXAN) — While virtually speaking to the Touchdown Club of Houston on Thursday, Tom Herman sounded optimistic about the prospect of playing a season this fall.

“I think so,” Herman said when asked if there would be football this fall. “Right now, our marching orders are to prepare as if we’re gonna kick the ball off on September fifth. We’re gonna do that to the best of our ability until they tell us to pivot and plan for something else, but right now, everything that we do in our program is to get ready for a football game on September fifth.”

He added, though, that he doesn’t know, leaving that final decision up to the likes of public health officials, school presidents and athletic directors and conference commissioners.

Part of the reason for his rosy outlook, though, is what’s going on with his team. As many as 15 players tested or were presumed positive for the coronavirus during the first two weeks of on-boarding last month. But those numbers have improved in recent weeks.

“I know our positive numbers have dropped dramatically, to the point where, I’m not allowed to say numbers, but almost non-existent, at this point,” Herman said.

Texas recently transitioned from voluntary workouts where the coaches couldn’t be present to mandatory workouts where coaches can be involved. Today marked the fourth, hour-long workout the team has had, according to Herman. Tomorrow they’ll transition from workouts on Tuesdays and Thursdays to a full 20-hour week.

He outlined the team’s workout schedule as such:

  • A one-hour workout every Tuesday and Thursday
  • Six hours of meetings per week
  • Eight hours of lifting and running per week
  • six hours of walk through practices per week

As the workouts increase and so does the student population with the semester starting next month, so, too, will the difficulty of maintaining those low virus numbers.

“What they’re doing the other 20-22 hours a day [away from us] takes constant education and a commitment level from our players unlike anything we’ve ever asked them to do,” Herman acknowledged. “Our kids have handled it. It’s been quite an adjustment, I’m not gonna sugarcoat that part. We’re constantly learning, constantly evolving, constantly trying new and better things. But all of it’s been with a smile on all of our players’ faces and an excitement about getting ready for the season.”

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