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Monday Presser: Littrell speaks on the state of the football team, talks about how COVID-19 has affected the program

Monday Presser: Littrell speaks on the state of the football team, talks about how COVID-19 has affected the program

Monday Presser: Littrell speaks on the state of the football team, talks about how COVID-19 has affected the program
April 13
18:10 2020

With the NCAA canceling all spring sporting events due to the novel coronavirus, the North Texas football team is one of many programs who are tasked with discovering new ways to keep in touch and develop as a team. During a press conference via Zoom, head coach Seth Littrell spoke on the state of the football team and how protocols like social distancing are affecting the program. One thing emphasized was understanding each player’s situation at home, making sure they and their family are in good health.

While the team does not meet like they used to due to the pandemic, Littrell has managed to keep his team in close contact through apps like Zoom and FaceTime. In an effort to make sure football players are staying on top of their academics in concert with discussing how to stay in shape, maintaining weight and practicing good nutrition.

“We have weekly Zoom meetings, obviously as a staff,” Littrell said. “We talked early with our strength staff and our nutritionist. Same with academics, weekly, and positions groups. Just making sure each individual coach is checking in with a position. We have them at a certain set time to where I can jump in on each and every position group throughout the week. Making sure I’m at least being able to see every person on our team face-to-face.”

Despite the team not being able to physically practice, Littrell was pleased with the way the team has gone about communicating and staying prepared. Being apart from the team has its challenges but the head coach made sure to note the main focus during this time was developing good chemistry and making sure everybody was in good health.

“It’s not all about football right now,” Littrell said. “It’s about checking in on them and their family, so having that camaraderie and just having a little bit of fun with them but also doing some football work and position work. We’re able to watch film, there’s a lot of different things we’ve learned that we can do to resume. So, you know it’s kind of evolving as we go like everyone trying to figure out how to use all this technology, but it’s coming along great. This is the time to where you can get better somehow, someway, and we’re just going to have to find different ways to continue to grow and get better as a team and as an overall athletic department.”

With North Texas bringing on five new positional coaches this offseason and their search for the teams’ new starting quarterback, the challenges that lie with not being able to hold spring practice are challenges that are shared with numerous other programs across the nation, according to Littrell.

“It’s obviously challenging,” Littrell said. “But this has been challenging on everyone, not just football but everybody in the country. So, everybody has different challenges and it’s how you respond within those challenges is what really matters. We’re just going to stay positive and at the end of the day when we’re able to get out there, we’ll take care of all that other stuff when it comes. It’s been challenging on everybody but I feel like we got to do a good job, especially us in leadership roles. We’ll be fine and when we’re able to open it back up, we’ll get rolling.”

Having a strong sense of leadership is priceless during these unprecedented times. The football team’s leadership council has proved to be highly beneficial and has helped keep the team on the same page. The council consists of a team-selected player from each position group. This past week the team divided the team between the 12 players on the leadership council — Littrell kept the names of the players on the council off the record for the sake of family privacy — in an effort to create smaller groups to increase player-to-player communication.

“We divided the team between those 12 guys and just gave them different guys to call and check in on,” Littrell said. “Some guys will talk differently to another player on the team, and maybe its something they don’t want to bring to the coaches. So, it’s just guys reaching out to each other, not in their position groups. It’s an opportunity for us to grow closer as a team and even build their relationships stronger and maybe some guys outside of their position groups that they don’t interact with that much.”

Although the fall season is still currently up in the air due to COVID-19, Littrell addressed the elephant in the room for North Texas: the quarterback situation. He mentioned that the NCAA shut down has in fact impacted the program’s decision on a new starting signal-caller. Although Littrell expressed confidence in his quarterback core, he also noted the importance of seeing passers like redshirt sophomores Austin Aune and Jason Bean take reps on the field.

It does not appear that a concrete decision will be made until the fall semester. The Mean Green currently has five signal-callers listed on their roster, but the two quarterbacks Littrell mentioned in Bean and Aune have had the most recent practice and game reps last season.

“What we have to do is figure out, when we get back, their strengths and weaknesses,” Littrell said. “Which we have a pretty good idea especially with Bean and Aune having gotten some reps. Whether its been in practice or game reps and so we’re just going to play to their strengths. We got to be able to come up with a game plan that they’re able to execute overall. They’re going to have a lot of the same strengths but they’ll also have some other ones that maybe the other one doesn’t have. So, we’ll see.”

Featured Image: Seth Littrell speaks during a preseason conference on Aug. 21, 2019. Due to the increase in COVID-19 cases in Denton County, press conferences are now being held through Zoom. Image by Jordan Collard

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Matt Suarez

Matt Suarez

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