Photo Credit: Harley Taylor
As we are approaching a month since college sports started coming to a halt due to the COVID-19 pandemic, coaches and players across the country have adapted to the best of their ability to continue safely training and doing what they need to do in all aspects. For Justin Fuente, he's had a clear message for both his players and his coaches on what to focus on during this time as he told Jon Laaser in a recent interview.
“I gave a pretty clear directive, the best I could in these uncertain times to both our coaches and our players,” Fuente said. “I gave them three things that they need to be focused on.”
Fuente kept his messages simple to his players, only asking them to do three things during the shutdown of all athletic activities starting with a focus on staying healthy.
“One is their health,” Fuente said. “You’re a macho football player or macho football coach, but the bottom line is, this is serious and we need to make sure we are doing our job to try to get this over with. So, we need to pay attention to the experts and obviously advocate for our own health.”
After a focus on staying healthy and following public health experts guidelines to avoid getting the coronavirus, Fuente wants to make sure his players are getting the job done in their academics.
“The second thing for our players is obviously academics, those dynamics have changed,” Fuente said. “It’s all online, professors are trying to change and alter their class structure.”
After focusing on their health and academics, Fuente is spurring his players to continue to work out in safe ways.
“The third thing our players need to focus on is finding a way to work out,” Fuente said. “Find a way to stay in shape, or get in better shape.”
All across the United States, a most states have forced non-essential businesses to close as a way to flatten the curve and reduce the spread. That includes most gyms, requiring players to get creative with what they have, which has included offensive lineman Austin Cannon pushing a large vehicle, and players as a whole getting creative with their methods of training.
Justin Fuente also had three things he wanted his coaches to focus on with the first being on their health as well, just as it is for his players.
“One was their own health and making sure we did our best to get this over with,” Fuente said.
After that, Fuente wants his coaches to continue to be a healthy accountability and encouragement support system to keep the players at their respective positions focused on getting the job done in academics and with their physical conditioning along with simply being there for their players.
“Number two was our current players and their situation and what they need and what we can do to continue to both stay on top of them academically, but also counsel them through these uncertain times,” Fuente said.
Lastly, the recruiting world has not stopped even with a dead period through the end of the month. From providing virtual tours to simply staying in regular contact, Tech's coaching staff has no plans to relent in their heavy recruiting push during this time.
“The last thing for our coaches was recruiting, obviously that does not stop, it may be a dead period, but it has not stopped,” Fuente said.
Though Virginia Tech football is on hold being physically together for the forseeable future, Justin Fuente is still pushing his team to only physically distance rather than socially distance, using responsible methods to stay in contact while following all public health guidelines.
Fuente also knows that at this point, the 2020 season is still slated to start on time with the coaching staff starting to work on preparation for early opponents as Fuente looks to lead Tech to their second Coastal title during his tenure.
“There is always some planning we can do for the fall so our guys have been checking out our first couple of opponents,” Fuente said.