Cushing, EIU watching as different FCS groups play | Sports activities
CHARLESTON — Adam Cushing wasn’t stalking the sidelines at O’Brien Stadium Thursday evening.
The house of Japanese Illinois soccer was as an alternative darkish. What would have been the Panthers’ first Week 1 house opener since 2016 was postponed together with the remainder of the 2020 schedule when the Ohio Valley Convention halted play this fall through the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic with hope to play within the spring.
Cushing’s mentioned his Thursday evening plans would include pizza at house along with his household — spouse Jaime and kids Abigail, Dana and Alexander.
That’s how Cushing spent final Saturday, too. That point along with his household, although, additionally included watching OVC rivals Austin Peay face Central Arkansas within the first recreation of what’s going to virtually assuredly be the strangest faculty soccer season to this point.
Whereas each FCS convention postponed its fall season, some particular person groups have been allowed the chance to play any nonconference video games they might schedule. Fifteen FCS groups are set to play this fall, however EIU will not be one among them. Central Arkansas has, in truth, already performed twice after beating the Governors 24-17 final weekend earlier than shedding 45-35 to UAB on Thursday evening.
“I had some blended feelings with it,” Cushing mentioned about watching the Austin Peay-Central Arkansas recreation. He admitted he didn’t watch the entire thing.
“In an uncharacteristic transfer when soccer is on, I nonetheless did bedtime and tucked my children in, so I missed a number of the necessary stuff there,” Cushing continued. “They wished to see a few of it, too, to be sincere. They have been excited to look at some soccer with me on the sofa for some time.”
Austin Peay is one among three OVC groups enjoying this fall. The Governors have two remaining video games at Pittsburgh (Sept. 12) and at Cincinnati (Sept. 19). Japanese Kentucky will play Saturday at Marshall to start out its eight-game slate that may maintain it from enjoying within the spring, and Jacksonville State will play three video games in October.
“Definitely not out right here to guage on what anyone else is doing,” Cushing mentioned. “With 130 groups in FCS and I believe the quantity is 14 or 15 proper now which might be enjoying, I definitely don’t really feel in any approach that our determination was incorrect. What we simply saved going again to was crucial lens was well being, security and effectively being.”
Cushing mentioned his discussions with EIU athletic director Tom Michael about presumably enjoying this fall ought to the OVC postpone continued proper up till the convention made its determination.
“In the long run, our determination was it’s both protected or it isn’t,” Cushing mentioned. “The season was postponed for security considerations. Might we are saying these considerations are by some means alleviated by enjoying a nonconference workforce? It’s simply how we checked out it.”
Cushing rejects a number of the criticism for the postponed season that’s come from folks claiming groups and conferences had six months to create a workable plan. The EIU coach contends it was, in actuality, a few month. That’s how lengthy FCS groups had gamers again on campus earlier than a choice was made.
“We had a few month, and we weren’t 100% certain on tips on how to work each single logistic,” Cushing mentioned. “The advances definitely within the science when it comes to the testing and the method to COVID, the quantity of issues we’ve seen within the final month alone have been monumental. When you consider 5 months from now, you need to venture and hope that you just’re going to see issues being the place you may deal with all attainable logistics.”
Testing was a logistic with no consensus from convention to convention. Sustaining social distance in a highway locker room — not probably the most spacious of locations Cushing famous — was additionally a query that needed to be answered.
“It was, finally, is it protected or is it not?” Cushing mentioned about what continued to drive EIU’s determination relating to whether or not to play this fall. “If we determined as a convention it’s not protected, then let’s do what’s finest for well being, security and effectively being of our student-athletes.”
Cushing gave his workforce the week off final week as soon as in-person courses resumed on the Charleston campus. The Panthers have been again on the sector at O’Brien Stadium in helmets solely on Monday.
The NCAA has allowed soccer groups not enjoying this fall 12 hours of apply time per week with 5 of these hours in helmets. That can proceed by means of Oct. 4, and Cushing mentioned the choice for what sort of exercises might proceed — if any — has but to be made.
The autumn exercises are all non-contact. Cushing mentioned his teaching employees’s focus will likely be on particular person ability instruction. The Panthers, who completed 1-11 final 12 months in Cushing’s debut season, could be restricted in what they will do on the sector, however even these limits depart loads of room for enchancment.
“It’s nothing that soccer’s ever had earlier than,” Cushing mentioned. “We’re making an attempt to take benefit and use it. How can we make progress with out really having the hitting a part of soccer?”
Cushing has recognized three key areas for his workforce to assault this fall — offensive ball safety, operating to the ball on protection and using a bonus energy cycle within the weight room.
“We’re taking this chance to have very restricted time on the sector,” Cushing mentioned. “Actually an hour a day 4 days every week. That permits us then to have a four-day break up to get a fantastic energy cycle in. With as younger as a soccer workforce as we’re — particularly up entrance on either side of the soccer — that may play to our benefit.”