SAN MARCOS, Texas — Thursday marked the 48-hour point until the Texas State football season opener. It also marked the first time since fall camp started the Bobcats have had bad news on the COVID-19 front.
Four players are reportedly now in quarantine after the latest series of tests, and those four players will miss Saturday's game.
It's yet another reminder that this season will be unlike any we've ever seen.
KVUE asked about that and more in a one-on-one interview with head coach Jake Spavital.
KVUE: How happy are you and relieved as well that we’ve finally gotten to game week after an unprecedented offseason?
Spavital: “Unprecedented is a word that’s used a lot right now. You go through the last five, six months of all ups and downs. There’s days where you think everything is going to start on time and there’s days where you don’t think the season is going to happen or it’s going to be bumped back. I still haven’t really gotten that relief yet that it feels like a game week, but extremely excited that we have an opportunity here in a few days that we’re going to be able to get out on a field and do what we love to do and play someone else.”
KVUE: About 7,500 people will be here on Saturday. That’s 25% of the people who are typically here in San Marcos on game day, and yet, I have a feeling that every single one of them is going to be excited to be here. What are you anticipating the game day atmosphere to be like come Saturday?
Spavital: “I’m fortunate to get to listen to the doctors and the administration [about] how they’re going to do our game day protocols. You’ve got a 30,000 seat stadium where literally everyone is going to be spaced out across that whole entire deal. It’s not going to be as loud as it normally is, but that’s alright. I think we’re all more relieved to just go out there and play football for the first time.”
KVUE: You have worked so hard to make sure that this facility is safe and COVID-free. Do you have the same confidence that the teams on your schedule have been just as diligent and have been taking it just as seriously as you guys have?
Spavital: “I’ve been thinking about this for a while now. I think with the testing protocols that the conference has to do and the agreements of each school, I think everyone is trying to do their part. But there’s different hot spots, there’s different scenarios, there’s different situations that occur at different universities. For the most part, they are trying to make sure they are putting the healthiest team they have out there on the field.”
KVUE: You are the first FBS team in the state of Texas and among the first teams in the country to start its season. And you get to do it in a nationally televised game. What kind of opportunity is that going to be for this program?
Spavital: “I think it’s a tremendous opportunity for this program. I think it’s going to be one of the most publicized games that this university has ever had. We’ve talked about this for a few months – understanding the importance of doing everything right when it comes to COVID, doing the protocols and the guidelines, listening to the medical professionals, practicing social distancing and wearing your mask. I told them if you continue to [have] great test results that we might be in a situation to be on national TV. This moment has finally come and these kids have bought into everything that we’re doing. I believe this is the first ESPN game that this university has had, and especially in a primetime spot. When [they] get out there in pregame warm-ups, I think it’s all going to set in. I think these kids are going to be excited to play.”
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