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Portland-area football coaches plan for the unknown as players get creative at home

"Are we going to play? Are we not going to play? Are we starting in September or July?" Lake Oswego coach Steve Coury said it's hard to plan for the unknown.

The Central Catholic football team finished 2019 on top, winning Oregon's class 6A title. That championship feeling.  

Now the hope is to kick off a new season in a few months.  

Schools and gyms are closed. Coaches are not allowed to hold practices, so it's on players to find ways to work out on their own.

"It's up to them to put in the time and continue to plan as if we're going to play in the fall," said Central Catholic head coach Steve Pyne.

But there's a long way to go before that can happen.

"It's strange because we don't even really have a directive. Are we going to play? Are we not going to play? Are we starting in September or July? It's just strange times and everybody's going through it," said Lake Oswego head coach Steve Coury.

Normally, this time of the school year is spent in the weight room or conditioning with the team for a few hours, or for some athletes, competing in other sports.  Since that can't happen, some players are getting creative with how they're getting the job done.

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"Our strength coach sent out some emails about how to kind of make some weights at home and his thing is: weight is weight. It doesn't matter what form it comes in," said Pyne. "I got a photo yesterday. Our kids, Jack Bennison and Gavin Jackson, they were out cutting wood, they made some dumbbells out of some rounds of a tree. That was pretty cool"

The OSAA calendar year ends on May 25, signifying the start of summer.

That's when schools maintain control over facilities, but it doesn't mean teams will be able to start holding practices or workouts. It still comes down to local and federal social distancing guidelines. There are a lot of unknowns--even within the next few weeks.

"What that looks like, I don't know and I don't think anyone knows. Will that be, 'Oh hey, everything is good go back to normal,' or, 'You guys can bring in X amount of players at a given time.'  So we have to formulate a plan to accommodate our kids and all of that and we'll do what we have to do to make it work," said Pyne. "It might be some longer days for summer weight training or conditioning, but that's OK."

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The toughest part for both coaches is not being able to be there for the kids in person.

"It's been really hard. The everyday interactions with kids, the more in-depth personal conversations you might be able to have with a kid who's having some struggles. Or just doing something great and want to acknowledge that, give them a high-five or whatever. That part has been difficult," Pyne said.

"Missing right now and not being around, that's the part--forget how much they're working out or how much they're running--it's that part and you can't replace that," Coury said. "I miss that immensely. I miss that someone calls me up from the school and says, 'Come on over, Jim's had a bad day,' or whatever. Those are huge deals that you can't measure."

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