The Clarksville Wildcats are coming off a strong football season.
After a momentous opening week win over bitter rival Rossview, they went on to sweep every 931 team they faced, crowning themselves as the city champions. They advanced to the Class 5A playoffs and pulled off a stunning first-round upset before capping things off with a somber goodbye at Henry County.
Plenty of the momentum they carried throughout the year came through their strong senior class, spearheaded by eight college football commits. Now, coach Isaac Shelby and the Wildcat staff has to fill those holes even without having practice for the foreseeable future.
So far, their typical schedule consisting of three days of lifting and two days of conditioning per week has vanished. They would currently be in the middle of spring practice, which would run up until final exams began. COVID-19 has wiped away those plans.
“We’re just going to have to find creative ways to get kids who aren’t as experienced to the level we want them at,” Shelby said regarding filling the holes left by departures.
It is against TSSAA rules for members of the coaching staff to guide players through this suspended period, meaning Shelby and his staff are left hoping their players are staying in shape throughout the ordeal.
Depending on how long the no-contact and no-practice rules remain in effect, the Wildcats are prepared to cut offseason plans if need be.
“We’ve made an installation plan,” Shelby said. “With less time, there’s going to be times you have to cross things off and you’re going to have to go back and re-evaluate what you have to have, what you need to have.
“We’re just going to stay on our toes, be good coaches and get creative about what we’re doing.”
Additionally, the lack of time to practice conditioning and weight lifting could cause teams to spend less time on installation and more on physicality.
“We’ll see what this caused,” Shelby said. “It would be difficult to guess. Obviously they’re not going to be in as good of shape, we’re going to have to be creative with how we operate after that. It probably will lead to more injuries throughout the course of the fall. It’s just tough to guess on it.”
Overall, though, Shelby is confident in the Wildcats’ efficiency as it’s one of the main things they work on every year. He believes that they have the ability to get back up to speed quickly by not wasting any time upon return.
As of now, the Wildcats’ first scheduled game is set for Friday, Aug. 21 at Rossview.