After being away from his office for nearly two months, Chris Klieman discovered he had taken some things for granted.
“Just the access to the film library that you have in the office, rather than having to check out everything and take it home and then think, ‘Aw shoot, I forgot something,’” Klieman, entering his second year as Kansas State’s head football coach, told John Hoover of Sports Illustrated’s Oklahoma affiliate Wednesday. Hoover posted snippets of the interview on his personal Twitter account. “I think everything just works a little faster here (at the office) — the Internet does, and the film’s not as choppy when it’s from up here,” Klieman said. “So that stuff’s been better.”
Klieman and the rest of his staff finally returned to the Vanier Family Football Complex on Monday. They had been away since K-State’s spring break, which coincided with the coronavirus pandemic sweeping across the United States and bringing all sports to a screeching halt. In the interim, K-State’s coaches — much the same as staffs regardless of sport — spoke with each other, and “met” with players, via Zoom meetings, as face-to-face contact already had been prohibited as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Klieman said it’s been “great” finally seeing his fellow coaches in person this week.
“I’ve been able to meet offensively and defensively with the staff,” Klieman said. “We’ve kept it under 10, but you can meet with each side of the ball. It’s easier when you get everybody engaged and can see their faces. So that’s been good.”
Still, K-State is doing its due diligence to follow the guidelines set forth by government officials and health experts.
Those include the following:
• wearing masks at all times;
• limiting the number of people in the building by having coaches come and go in shifts;
• taking a wellness survey and getting a temperature check before entering the building.
“So they’re doing things the right way from a protocol standpoint and we’re here anywhere from five to seven hours a day, just to get it started,” Klieman said. “I think more than anything (it’s) just to help our administrative staff try to get through that process (of) how long it’s going to take to get people screened and get through.”
Zoom meetings with players are ongoing, and even those have been limited recently — players had to focus on finals the past two weeks. With those completed, Klieman said Zoom meetings have resumed, with players jumping on calls with their position coaches.
Provided nothing changes in the coming weeks, players are expected to return to Manhattan on June 1 to start weight training with the Wildcats’ strength and conditioning staff. That marks the next step in the run-up to the 2020 season, which Klieman still is “optimistic” will occur.
“But I’m not confident of a start date right now. That’s the thing I don’t think anybody can tell you for sure,” he said. “If somebody would tell you, ‘We’re only going to play our nine conference games and it’s going to start on whatever date,’ we’d say, ‘Aw shoot, we’re going to lose three games.’ But I think most people would take it because you know you’re going to get at least nine in.”
Klieman said he’s a hopeful holdout that K-State’s 12-game regular-season slate will remain intact.
“I just don’t know when we’re going to start, and if everybody will start on time,” he said. “That’s the thing: There’s going to be a lot of inequities here and we’re just going to have to deal with it.”