The college football world has been flipped upside down this year, typical workouts, practices, meetings and other team events are now different from anything staff or players have experienced.
Ever changing health and safety guidelines have brought new challenges to the athletes and staff. One of the most prominent changes is the requirement to wear face coverings while at practice.
“I don’t think it’s going to affect our vision at all, unless you have a visor and it’s fogging up,” said junior wide receiver Khalil Shakir. “Gets tough breathing through [the mask], but it’s not too bad.”
The Mountain West Conference requires that all student-athletes, coaches, trainers and other staff be tested three times a week.
The Mountain West has partnered with Quest Diagnostics to help facilitate the testing process. Boise State football now has access to rapid result tests to help the athletic program discover positive tests quicker in order to limit the spread of the virus.
Mountain West Conference Commissioner Craig Thompson is tasked with moving the conference in the right direction.
“The rapid testing element was critical for us to provide an effective solution for our athletes, coaches, officials and event staff,” Thompson said.
The President Chair of the Mountain West Dr. Mary Papazian believes the rapid testing has answered the main concern of playing college football.
“The availability of rapid testing addresses one of the main concerns that was expressed by our Board, the Mountain West Health and Safety Advisory Committee, as well as by student-athletes and coaches,” Papazian said.
Boise State Head Coach Bryan Harsin feels comfortable with the new health and safety measures that have been enforced by the conference.
“I believe in the people that are making the decisions medically. I think we will get better and things will continue to improve,” Harsin said.
Harsin believes that there could be a silver lining in dealing with extra safety protocols. He cites the increased amount of responsibility in players and coaches as something that will be beneficial to the program in the short term and down the road.
“As a player, and even as a coach you can’t tune out,” Harsin said. “You have to be locked in. You got to know your assignment. You’ve got to know roles. You may need to know several roles on the team. If that becomes your role in the game because we lose somebody through testing, you’re still able to go out there and compete.”