BLACKSBURG — Virginia Tech coach Justin Fuente put every aspect of the team’s practice plan under a microscope before opening fall camp on Friday.
The coaching staff’s top priority was creating a safe atmosphere to practice and mitigate any possible transmission of COVID-19 among players.
Tech’s athletic department put strict COVID-19 protocols in place while Fuente and his staff made wide-ranging changes to the team’s practice routine.
“I’m always trying to find a problem and bring it up to Mike (Goforth) to see if we are OK,” Fuente said on Friday. “That’s a little different approach than you usually take. You usually know exactly what you are going to do, where you are going to be and how it’s all going to work. It’s been an added Rubik’s Cube.”
One element of that was having his staff examine video of last year’s fall camp to track the amount of contact there was for each position in a two-hour practice. Fuente examined the data with chief medical officer Mark Rogers and Goforth, associate director of athletics for sports medicine, to decide where to make changes.
“I was personally shocked at how low those numbers actually were,” Fuente said. “I think everybody thinks, me included, that football’s just played in a big pile, and it wasn’t like that. The numbers were, I thought they’d be a lot higher than they were.”
Tech coaches also put a lot of time into implementing social distancing measures for every practice period, which required making changes to everything from the team’s stretching routine, to how players interacted (between plays and drills).