Western Michigan football gets creative to stay in shape

NCAA Football

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — It’s going to take some time, but life will eventually get back to normal and that will bring the return of sports. The question for coaches now is what to do until then.

“It is definitely uncharted waters,” Western Michigan head football coach Tim Lester said.
Normally this time of year, he would be wrapping spring practice and recruiting the next wave of players. But thanks to the closures aimed at slowing the spread of coronavirus, he hasn’t seen his players in person in weeks.

“We’re using virtual meetings, we’re trying to help our kids stay on top of their academics,” Lester said. “It’s really awkward when a class starts in person and changes to the internet, so we’re trying to help our players navigate that with finals coming in the next two weeks.”

He and his staff are also trying to make sure their players stay in shape. With gyms closed, they’ve gotten creative.

“Our strength coach has done a phenomenal job,” Lester said. “He started in January. He videotaped about 30 or 40 different video workouts where you need a gallon of milk or a gallon of water or ice tea. If you have resistance bands or dumbbells, great. And he sends them to our players. Most of America has a floor or a chair to do pushups on. So we’re trying to think outside the box.”

Film sessions have changed, too. There’s no practice film to watch, so they’re learning from some of the greats.

“Our receivers had a (Arizona Cardinals wide receiver) DeAndre Hopkins day, where they watched a bunch of cutups of him, what he does and how he releases,” Lester described.

He wants to do everything he can to get his Broncos ready for an uncertain 2020 season, supposed to be highlighted by a trip to Notre Dame.

“I think they (the conference) are working on the optimistic version of the plan to kick off in the fall. And they’re working on every other contingency. They’ve got time,” Lester said. “I’ve also heard we could play in the spring — kick off in March. So the great thing is with the amount of time they have now to plan and listen to the experts for the health of our players and the country, I think they’ll find a way to play next year. I just don’t know when or how it’s going to look.”