Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn speaks to reporters during the NCAA college football Southeastern Conference Media Days, Thursday, July 18, 2019, in Hoover, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)

How Gus Malzahn is handling COVID-19

While most coaches and teams are frantically trying to get answers for when sports will start again, Auburn football head coach Gus Malzahn is patiently waiting for the pandemic to end.

What he’s doing

On March 17, the SEC announced suspensions of all its spring sporting events including football practices, spring football games and pro days until at least April 15 because of COVID-19. On April 3, they extended that suspension until May 31.

Although Coach Malzahn is hoping to get back into football soon, he said that while his team is unable to practice he has been making good use of his time talking to his recruits and their families more.

“The positive is there’s a lot of time to recruit and we’re getting to know these recruits and their families really good right now and we’re just trying to get plans to get them on campus once things go back to normal,” Malzahn said.

He mentioned that using FaceTime and Zoom has been very helpful in getting to connect face-to-face with his current players and recruits. Malzahn said although it’s not like going to campus and talking in person, they’re trying to make the best of what they have right now.

He said only being able to communicate over the phone and not having practice was a big challenge at first but that the players and coaches are starting to adjust as they develop a routine.

“This is week five, we’re actually starting to get into a routine,” Malzahn said. “We’ve just tried to keep it as close to normal as possible as if they were here going through spring ball.”

Possible starting dates

Malzahn said that the team has looked at multiple dates for getting everyone back on the field. June 1, June 15, July 1 and July 15 are dates they have put together scenarios for that they think will give everyone enough time to prepare for the season both physically and mentally.

“I’m sure conference offices will be given recommendations [by] the NCAA and hopefully we’ll find out that in a short period of time,” Malzahn said. “I’m really just trying to look at staying positive. I’ve kind of put the doom and gloom behind me. We’re going to be back. Hopefully we’ll be back sooner rather than later.”

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