Big Green Prepare for 2020 However They Can
Like most of us, Dartmouth head football coach Buddy Teevens is adjusting to life in the age of the coronavirus, but given the weather we've seen this weekend, he's probably not too upset to be staying down in Florida.
"I came down for an alumni activity, which overlapped with Spring Break," Teevens said. "I got a call from the athletic director's office that said, 'Don't come back.'"
So Teevens and his staff fired up the computers as they try to get the Big Green ready for what they hope is a somewhat normal 2020 season.
"To be able to connect with, in our case, 120+ people around the country to conduct basically a virtual Spring practice, coaches meetings, and so forth is phenomenal," he said. "Not preferable but it's worked out as well as it can be given the circumstances."
Teevens says conditioning is the most important aspect for players to keep themselves physically prepared, and the coaches have developed drills they can complete virtually. But when it comes to the strength aspect, some players have had to get creative.
"A mom sitting on a young guy's back and he's doing pushups or curling his little sisters," Teevens said. "Chin-ups on a tree limb and it's comical to see some of the guys pushing their cars."
Now when they get back, they'll have a little more traditional way to get their work in...and remember that weather I mentioned earlier? Well that's not gonna be a problem anymore as Dartmouth is set to open a brand new indoor practice facility as soon as the student athletes return.
"When you walk in, it's jaw-dropping," Teevens said. "We probably were the worst in the league to now we're the best in the league and nobody's gonna catch us. It's certainly incredibly helpful and it's a great addition to the institution."
The goal for Dartmouth is of course to finish the 2020 season the same way they closed out 2019...as Ivy League Champions.
"There's nothing like it," Teevens said. "It's almost life-changing in many regards. You'll always reflect back on that moment, that opportunity, that play, that group of people."
Unfortunately Teevens says they haven't been able to celebrate that title as a group, as many of the players took the Winter quarter off from school before the Spring quarter was shifted to online learning...and some of them have already graduated and are moving into the workforce, including Isiah Swann and Niko Lalos who have signed with the Cincinnati Bengals and New York Giants respectively.
"They're two special young men, great leaders for us and hard, physical, aggressive players, very very talented, and we have a few more of those guys in our program too," Teevens said.
There is however one unexpected benefit Dartmouth has been able to take from the coronavirus situation: they have fewer hurdles to jump in their quest to find the next Swann and Lalos.
"Players around the country are available," Teevens said. "Quite often, trying to reach a high school student who's involved with class, spring practice, with social opportunities or an extra sport in the spring is tough, so we're actually well ahead in identifying and interacting with student athletes for the future."
And given this staff's track record, Dartmouth will compete for championships for years to come...and with any luck, this Fall.