Better late than never: Spring football practice begins June 1

Anderson County schools can resume sports practices (in a limited capacity) on June 1.

Regulations will still limit what kind of practices can be held, with group sizes being limited to a total of 10 (including coaches).

While some other counties across Tennessee have already started practices, Darrell Keith, head football coach for the Dragons, says he’s OK with the school board being cautious.

“We’re disadvantaged because we’re following the governor’s guidelines,” he said. “Knox County has the CDC center, so they can follow their own guidelines. I don’t think it’s because our leaders don’t want us out there or anything, but we have to be more cautious. I’d rather them be overly cautious instead of just throwing caution to the wind. After all, the most important thing for Anderson County and Clinton is that our players and staff all stay healthy. We’ve got our kids’ lives in our hands.”

When asked how the new guidelines would affect practices and what the plans were, Keith was candid.

“We’re going to do round-robin training and just try to do the best we can,” he said. “We’re hoping the governor increases the limit to 50 soon, so we can get some semblance of normality. I wanted to focus on conditioning, but the kids have dead period soon, and they go right back away from practice. It’s frustrating.”

Gary Terry, the athletic director for Anderson County, said that authorities across the county have been working together to put guidelines and plans into place concerning the start of practices again.

“Our team has worked extremely hard to put a plan together. Dr. Parrot, Mr. Deal, Mr. Downs, and Mr. Collette [Clinton’s athletic director] have all worked hard to put a plan together, and we’re very confident that it will meet the CDC guidelines and protect our kids,” Terry said.

“We’re in the same school system, so we want to make sure we’re doing the same things. We don’t want any kids in our district to be sick or any kids in any other district. If we do a good job with these guidelines and do everything we’re supposed to do, we should be able to have a fall season.”

Speaking on a smaller scale, Terry said he’s very confident in the ability of the ACHS staff to operate effectively under the new rules to keep everyone healthy.

“We are absolutely going to follow the rules so we can keep our kids and coaches safe, and I have 100-percent confidence in the professionalism of our staff and our schoo,” he said. “They’re going to do exactly what they need to keep our kids and families safe so that we can get this thing out and have a season in the fall.”

Terry said that the Mavs will have to restructure things around the new guidelines.

“We’re meeting with the coaches this week, and I know they’re champing at the bit for us to get started,” he said.

“It’ll be a lot of fun to get it out there and figure things out and get it going. There will be some adjustments, but the effort and the attitude will still be the same. We all want to win a state title and everybody is out looking to do that. We’ve got, I think, the best football team and the best volleyball team I’ve ever seen, and we’re excited.”

to put them out there for everyone to see.”