NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) -
As head coach Willie Fritz describes it, the last time his team met was Monday, March 16th. And since then, they’ve been adjusting successfully to the new normal of college football.
“It’s been really neat to learn football and watch my coaches have position meetings,” says Fritz.
Those meetings he refers to are what we’ve all become familiar with lately. The Green Wave, like a lot of us, have used Zoom for everything from team meetings to position group meetings to workout instruction. In a way, however, coach Fritz says this schedule has allowed him to be more hands-on.
“Just this morning, I sat in in defensive backs, quarterbacks and defensive line," says Fritz. “This is the new normal right now. You ought to take advantage of the time I normally don’t get to do all of this. I normally have different fires that I’m putting out throughout the day. Now, I’m really sinking my teeth into football.”
As far as player evaluation, it’s not as simple to see without time on the field. Where they grade players now is through their learning of the playbook and tests they can administer from a distance.
“I’ve got a bunch of really good teachers as coaches,” says Fritz. “That’s one of the things that I try to do. When I watch one of these Zoom presentations with the position group, I’m trying to help our coaches. How can we do it better? How can we teach them more effectively?”
But it’s not just on the coaches. The players hold themselves accountable as well. And it’s more important now than ever.
“Our guys, when we go out and recruit, one of the questions we ask is do you like football or do you love football,” says Fritz. “If a guy tells us he likes football, we move on to the next guy. If you’re going to play Division I football and be successful at it, you’ve got to love it. So our guys have got a lot more time too. So they’re calling our coaches. They’re setting up personal Zoom meetings to become the best football player they can be as much as they become the best student they can be.”
Still, there’s always the question: when will this get back to normal?
It’s impossible for most to answer right now. Coach Fritz says as much as he keeps an eye on football, he’s just as watchful of the local government and what’s happening throughout New Orleans and south Louisiana. And until they have the all-clear, locally and from the NCAA, all they can do is wait. But the veteran coach says his experience from Division II football to FCS to Division I has him ready for whatever comes.
“No one really knows when we’re going to start,” says Fritz. “I’ve had a lot of people speculate when this is going to start again. But when we get the word on that, we’ll go ahead and figure out pre-season camp schedule and summer schedule. I’ve done it a bunch of different ways at a lot of different levels. So this will be very simple to do.”