Coronavirus can’t keep the Memphis Tigers football team from gathering - virtually

Coronavirus can’t keep the Memphis Tigers football team from gathering - virtually
The Rona can’t keep the Football Tigers from gathering - virtually (Source: WMC Action News 5)

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The Memphis Tigers expect several players to get their names called this weekend.

Back on campus, well, there’s nobody on campus except the Head Coach.

The Tiger Football Team is rallying virtually, despite coronavirus.

As Ryan Silverfield says, there's no coaching manual for what is going on right now. He and his staff are getting creative with how to run the program from afar.

"I think they miss each other, Silverfield said. "The friendships, the bonds, the teammates. I think a lot of those things we don't think about in the world we are in right now."

Time have changed, but for 18- to 21-year-old student-athletes, put them in the same room, or on the same Zoom call and you still get a sense of normalcy.

Silverfield said, “Just got off a Zoom meeting with one of our positions and they had 17 guys on there and the first five minutes of the meeting, they just poke fun at each other and have fun just like 18- to 22-year-olds would normally.”

Players aren’t building the on-field leadership, but sometimes it’s what goes on off the field that says the most. Silverfield said players are constantly challenging each other to get better on their own.

"Whether it's Brady White reaching out to receivers," said Silverfield. "They do it on their own we can't require, we can't encourage it. Hey, show you running some routes, back home in MS, or one of the defensive lineman running hills."

Since it's the off-season NCAA guidelines don't let coaches ask players for videos of them working out, they can only see them if they're posted on social media. But, Silverfield is pleased with the way players are stepping up.

"They want each other to succeed so bad, which I love, it's a true brotherhood and a lot of them have been around each other enough, the culture we've been so fortunate to build here, the fact that they continue to check on each other, I think that shows leadership within itself."

Silverfield said the biggest thing is the camaraderie that’s lost without everyone at the facility. He’s still checking in daily on the welfare of his guys.

He says none of the players have contracted COVID-19, but some family members have been affected by the virus.

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