Big Sky Conference postponed football until spring on Aug. 7. Despite the looming question of whether the football team will get to play in the spring or not, the Mustangs have stayed focused and prepared.
“When the opportunity presents itself to play, we are going to keep working and be ready to play,” head coach Beau Baldwin said.
Redshirt sophomore quarterback Jalen Hamler said that it is important for the team to continue to train despite the uncertainties of their season.
“You must adapt to this new lifestyle,” Hamler said. “You must stay disciplined and focused through all of this.”
The coaches have adapted to this “new lifestyle” by checking in on the players a few times per week and coming up with creative Zoom topics to discuss during meetings, according to Baldwin. Creativity is the only challenge he has faced so far in his first year as Cal Poly’s head coach. Baldwin said he finds it “not difficult” to manage the team because of the team’s maturity and the players’ willingness to complete voluntary workouts on their own.
“You are in charge of who you wake up and see in the mirror every day,” Baldwin said. “Everyone has to be really dedicated to themselves because we are all spread out.”
Leaders on the team like Hamler and redshirt senior linebacker Matt Shotwell have also encouraged their teammates to work hard and push themselves during the pandemic.
“As a leader, you try to tell guys to keep their heads up and to not get complacent,” Shotwell said. “We are trying to push [the team] as much as we can to show that there is light at the end of the tunnel.”
At the end of the tunnel, the Mustangs hope there is a spring season where they hope to redeem themselves after going 3-8 in 2019. The Mustangs recorded victories against the University of San Diego, Southern Utah University and the University of Northern Colorado. The Mustangs also came close in a number of games as three of their eight losses were decided by six points or less.
“I felt like we dropped the ball on a lot of big games last year,” Hamler said. “At the end of the day, we have to do what is best to get back on that winning track.”
The Mustangs will look to record their first winning season since 2016 in the spring. However, a spring season would look different than a normal fall season, as the Big Sky Conference confirmed on Aug. 13 that non-conference football games will not be permitted during the 2020-21 academic calendar year.