Sawyer talks loss of spring football season



Sophomore running back Sam Santiago-Lloyd attempts to move the play down field during the spring game on Friday, April 26 in the Altra Credit Federal Union Stadium. Santiago-Lloyd played for the offensive team, loosing to the defensive team 81-44.

Mitchell Breuer, Editor-In-Chief

Spring sports have not been the only ones affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. At the same time it was announced spring seasons would be cut short, Winona State University announced the football team would lose their spring practices.

This cancellation means that Warriors will not be able to practice until the summer months at the earliest.

However, according to Tom Sawyer, the team’s head coach, there is more being lost than the just practice time.

“It is a tremendous impact,” Sawyer said. “It’s one thing not being with your teammates and not being in school. It’s very, very tough for kids to train physically. Mentally it takes a complete toll on them. Some kids handle it better than others. Some coaches handle it better than others. So, we’re all trying to find ways to deal with it the best we can.”

Despite the team having to maintain distance from one another, Sawyer said that they have implemented new ways of communication to keep the constant contact going.

“One thing is we have Zoom meetings, full team meetings,” Sawyer said. “So, we’ve got everybody on the page at one time. We have staff meetings every single day through Zoom. So, that’s been going really well, and then of course the players are enjoying it. We also have something that we call Microsoft Team. We use that as well for our instruction. So, we have a lot of different ways to try to stay in contact with our kids at least once a day.”

The biggest impact of this new routine though is how well the players have seemed to respond to it. So far, Sawyer said it has helped bring a sense of normalcy back in time that has been filled with a lot of unknowns.

“[These meetings are] just a chance for them to think about their buddies, think about college and think about football, which is very important to our guys, of course,” Sawyer said. “You could see them laughing with each other and joking a little bit. When times are tough, laughter and a smile can go a long way. So, that’s a big part of our healing.”

However, one thing the team cannot make up through Zoom meetings is the practice time. Therefore,

during this time of isolation and social distancing, it is up to the players to keep themselves ready for the upcoming season.

“We just hope the kids are diligent about being in shape because if we don’t get a chance to see them until the summer months, that’s a long time,” Sawyer said. “The sixth of March was the last time we saw them. That’s a long time. So, we hate to get kids hurt because they’re not prepared physically or mentally. We come back into team practice and have a game in three weeks.”

Currently, the Warriors are scheduled to return to action on Sept. 3.


The opinions expressed in this paper are not necessarily those of Winona State University, the Minnesota State Colleges and University system, or the Winona State University student body.