Yoakum athletic director and head football coach Bo Robinson had not seen most of his athletes in person since spring break.

Robinson decided last week to go for a drive and check on their welfare.

“I went door to door just to look at them,” he said. “They look pretty good. But they’re tired and they’re ready to do stuff.”

Athletes at UIL schools around the state will have the opportunity to return to their respective campuses June 8 for strength and conditioning drills.

The UIL released guidelines for the drills Friday, and coaches around the area are anxious to get started.

“That’s the plan,” said Calhoun athletic director and head football coach Richard Whitaker. “We’re going to have to sit down and look at the guidelines and figure that out.”

Schools have not held in-person workouts since activities were shut down as the result of the COVID-19 pandemic in March.

“My wife and I figured out the other day,” Robinson said, “that it’s almost been as long as we would have for a summer break before we had two-a-days.”

Most schools have conducted virtual workouts through a phone app or online and held meetings with players by Zoom.

“That’s the best thing,” Whitaker said of starting conditioning drills. “Getting them back together and getting some normalcy back in their lives.”

Athletes will be able to gather in groups of 15 for outside workouts and 10 for inside workouts. For every 20 athletes that participate, one coach must be in attendance.

Sports specific drills are allowed, but teams may not play 7on7 in football or go one-on-one in basketball.

The UIL recommends schools screening athletes for COVID-19 symptoms. The rules mandate that locker rooms and showers remain closed, food or water not be shared, and surfaces must be fully disinfected after each workout.

The UIL has not announced whether the football season will start as scheduled in August.

“I’m optimistic that we will,” Whitaker said. “I’m also very cautious that it might be in September. I’ve also heard that it might be only district games, but I don’t know how they would do that. I even heard that they might play spring sports in the fall and football in the spring.”

Robinson hopes the season starts at its normal time, and is thankful to have strength and conditioning drills to prepare.

“We’re going to follow the rules, but we also want to give our kids a chance to get back in there because over the last 10 or 15 years football has been a year-round deal and the conditioning part is the most important thing,” he said. “It’s fixing to be 100 degrees and these kids haven’t done anything in 10 weeks.”

Mike Forman is the sports editor of the Victoria Advocate. Contact him at 361-580-6588 or by email at mforman@vicad.com. Follow him on Twitter at @mikeforman21

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Mike Forman is the sports editor of the Victoria Advocate. He has worked at the Advocate since 1982. He has a bachelor's degree from SMU and a master's degree from UCLA.

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