One thing that COVID-19 has proven is that it possesses an uncanny ability to screw up all different types of plans, and there’s no concrete evidence that it’s finished doing so. That’s something that has to be kept in mind for the duration of this article, as well as any other piece you may read talking about when things may get back to normal in a post-COVID-19 world.
But at least as of this moment, Dan Mullen and Florida are moving forward as if the 2020 Gator football season will proceed as usual.
The first indication that this was going to happen came last week, when news spread that not a single Florida football player tested positive for COVID-19 upon returning to campus. Today, on a zoom call press conference, we learned that Dan Mullen tested negative as well. And in that same press conference, we also learned that the program is gearing up for the season as if there will be no further changes.
Mullen said that his team’s first walkthrough will be next month, on July 24. He also said that fall camp will begin on August 7, which is about a week or a week and a half later than usual. Why are things set to go again? “Because that’s what we know right now,” Mullen stated.
Conversely, Mullen also made a point to say that his team has to control what it can control, and be ready to adapt should changes to the schedule become necessary.
So this is by no means the time to fly the “Football is back to normal!” or even the “We’re going to have a season!” sort of mission accomplished flag. A lot of checkpoints still have to be passed between now and then, because the way to bring things back to normal safely is to do it very slowly, phase by phase. And we still don’t know what a potential second wave could look like, even in the abusive summer heat of Florida.
But what we do know is that at the very least, we’re one checkpoint closer to getting back the sport we all love.