By Dan Guttenplan, FNF Coaches Editor
If you take a long enough look at our State-by-State Season Start Plan database, one thing that might stand out is the state of Massachusetts’ plan to start football season on Feb. 22.
In Western Massachusetts, the average high temperature for February is 33 degrees. The average low temperature is 12 degrees. That could lead to some uncomfortable games and practices.
We decided to check in with a prominent Massachusetts coach to find out he’s dealing with the shift to February football. Mansfield High (Mass.) coach Mike Redding was inducted to the Mass. High School Football Coaches Hall of Fame in 2019. He led Mansfield to its eighth state championship last fall.
How do you feel about postponing the football season until February?
“I feel like the move to February is our best shot at playing a season this year.”
Will it be difficult to practice outdoors in Massachusetts in February? What’s your plan for preseason workouts?
“It will be chilly to start, and we may have to deal with some snow. But we have access to a fieldhouse if needed, and the good news is that the weather will get better and better as we move forward. Late March and April should be great weather for games. We also get to avoid the EEE virus issue here in the fall, as well as the heat index issues in late August.”
How do you think it will impact your team’s training and style of play?
“If anything, we should be able to get bigger and stronger. We had access to our weight room this summer and will continue that through the fall and winter, so no excuses not to be a physical team in the spring. The state is going to give us some practice time in the fall, which we’ll use to improve individual skills and work on the pass game (no pads allowed). We’ll also do some good conditioning and keep lifting. I don’t think we’ll get to defend our state title, but the guys will battle to try to earn a third consecutive conference title.”
Will you lose any players due to the change in seasons? Any players who will be focusing on other sports in February?
“There’s no crossover between seasons, so once winter wraps up in mid-February we’ll move onto the Fall 2 season. The only sports will be football, volleyball (girls) and competitive cheer, so no conflicts with other sports. Plus, our basketball guys should be in good shape coming out of the winter. Guys can also run indoor track in the winter to get ready for our season. We’ll make the best of it and just hope things continue to improve in our state.”