SMITHS STATION, Ala. (WTVM) - Everybody is playing catch-up these days thanks to the pandemic shutdown, but the Smiths Station Panthers are enjoying playing catch-up a whole lot more than they were enjoying waiting for the restart.
The Panthers football team is literally making up for lost time as they completed their second week of workouts since the reaction to COVID-19 led to the shuttering of pertty much everything. The lack of spring practice hit Mike Glisson’s crew as hard as anyone, but Glisson is philosophical about the whole situation, as in, deal with it with a smile.
“It sets us back,” Glisson said. “I mean, I’ve got a new offensive coordinator and a new defensive coordinator, but everybody’s set back. Central’s going through the same thing down the road and there’s other people going through the same thing. We’re all in the same storm. We may not be in the same boat, but we’re all in the same storm. We’ll just make the best of it. We’re going to do the best we can and get them ready to play with whatever rules we’re given. That’s the only thing we can do.”
It’s forced him and the rest of the Smiths Station coaching staff to re-evaluate drills and procedures.
“I’ve been doing this 30 years,” said Glisson. “This is my 31st year and, guess what, we’ve had to find new ways to do things. That’s only going to make us better. There’s alternate ways to do things and it is what it is. You can get some conditioning done. You can do some strength training. We’re teaching some plays, we’re doing some drills, but again, it’s careful, with masks on or it’s half-speed. We’re trying to do it the way we’ve been, given the rules. We’ve got all get through it together, and we will, we will. We’ll get through it. This will pass like everything else and we’ll be better for it in the long run.”
Even with the restrictions and the delays, Glisson’s enthusiasm is obvious.
“We’ve got a lot of new kids out. Our numbers are a little over 100 even though it doesn’t look like it out here because we have to practice in shifts, but we’re excited about it. We’re excited about our team, we’re excited about getting back, we’re excited about being able to play. That’s the big thing.”
The Panthers are schedule to open the 2020 season at home versus Russell County on August 21.