Chris Klieman wasn’t exactly sure — or more likely, simply wasn't interested in sharing — if any Kansas State football players recently had tested positive for the coronavirus. As he admitted Tuesday, he didn’t think there had been any positives “the last few” times players have been tested.
But Klieman, entering his second season as K-State’s head coach, knows that staying clear of COVID-19 is about to get a lot tougher.
“With all the students coming back, we’ll see how we’re going to be,” he said during a video conference call with reporters Tuesday. “I think every institution is (going to be) worried about that over the next few weeks to a month with all the students coming back.”
The first day of classes for K-State was Aug. 17. K-State is testing players every Wednesday; soon, that will increase to three times a week as the season draws closer. Klieman noted that last weekend was the first day players have had off since preseason camp started. But once the season starts, particularly Fridays before a game and the Saturdays themselves, Klieman acknowledged it's on his players to try to avoid doing things away from the field their fellow classmates enjoy.
"It’s going to be difficult, there’s no question," he said. "They’re still 18-to-22-year-old college students."
While totally avoiding positive tests probably isn’t possible, Klieman said all he and the rest of his coaching staff can do is to continue to stress following physical distancing guidelines and practicing situational awareness.
"Some of it, you have to put on the (team's) leadership,” he said. “We've told the guys, 'You have to avoid large gatherings. You have to avoid groups of people where people are not socially distancing and they're not wearing masks. You can’t say if this one is OK or that one isn’t OK, because you guys know what we’ve been preaching and what our docs and athletic trainers have been preaching as well. You have to avoid the bars. You have to avoid the large gatherings. You have to avoid anything that would put yourself or your teammates in jeopardy.'"