BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - LSU, as well as the rest of the SEC, is set to have athletes return to campus next week for summer training with the timing and uncertainty especially critical for football.
The conference-approved June 8 return for football, along with men’s and women’s basketball, will be the first test to see how college sports can possibly return from months of shutdown during the pandemic.
A former LSU star, whose company trains high-level athletes in the off-season, says a situation like this could not only create separation among institutions and their programs but the athletes themselves.
“There’s so much, I guess, uncertainty right now with these guys," said Ryan Theriot, a former LSU baseball and MLB player. "It really puts the onus on the players themselves to prepare for this, because you truly don’t know what to expect, day-to-day, minute-to-minute. I mean you can see the University of Alabama has five guys test positive for coronavirus, so you know at what point do you pivot and go, ‘We either shut it down or how do we handle the quarantine?’ So, I’m interested to see how the players show up and what kind of shape they’re in and truly, I think for Paul [Mainieri], it allows him to see which guys really want this and want to be great and I can just tell you, Steve, I’ve seen it at Traction [Sports] and other places around the country. Some kids are going to take giant leaps and some kids that we thought were great players are going to get passed up.”
He added a situation like this could create a unique opportunity among the athletes who were forced to do their workouts at home.
“I think the kid that works super hard and has invested in himself understands that now is when they can get an edge or an advantage and so, yeah, I do believe some are working harder. Local names, guys that we know - Baton Rouge kids that I’ve watched over the years from little league to high school and now, they’re getting to college - that have just busted their butts. I can’t tell you how excited I am to see Will Safford take the field at LSU because I’ve watched him work and work and work and work. And the game owes it to him because he’s put in so much work. So, guys like that who have really gone above and beyond,” Theriot explained.
Theriot, a shortstop who played at Broadmoor, scored the winning run for LSU’s fifth College World Series championship in June 2000.
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