Patriots

Next Pats Podcast: Eagles coach Jeff Hafley lays out BC's COVID-19 protocols

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The 2020 college football season will be unlike any other we've seen, and a few major conferences have already canceled or postponed fall sports amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Big Ten and Pac-12 conference announced Tuesday they have postponed all fall sports, including football, with the hope of potentially playing in the spring.

The other three Power 5 conferences -- the ACC, SEC and Big 12 -- have not yet announced any cancelations or postponements regarding football. 

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One ACC school that's been able to create a safe environment to this point is Boston College.

Jeff Hafley is entering his first season as Eagles head coach after spending the 2019 campaign on Ohio State's coaching staff. He joined the latest episode of the Next Pats Podcast on Wednesday, where he explained the process Boston College has put in place to combat COVID-19, as well as the sacrifices the players and coaches must make in order to have a chance at playing football in the middle of a pandemic.

"It came from great planning, from Father Leahy to our administration, our athletic director, and then the doctors and trainers," Hafley told our Patriots insider Phil Perry. "Very organized, very detailed, the communication has been outstanding. They've put together a great plan. From the time we came back, our students had to sacrifice, and I'm going to continue to say that, because without sacrifice none of this is possible. I keep telling the players, if you want to play you're gonna have to give something up. They got back, they quarantined, they tested, and we've kind of formed a BC bubble where we've asked our kids to stay on campus. We've asked them not to leave campus. We've asked them not to bring in visitors. We've asked them to really give up so much that, you and I when we were 18 and 19 years old, I can't even imagine.

 

Next Pats Podcast: BC coach Jeff Hafley on how Eagles are preparing for season amid COVID-19 | Listen & subscribe | Watch on YouTube

"Again, it goes back to let's give the doctors credit because the protocol, it's on point. It's the testing, it's the masks, it's the social distancing, and it's the organization of where we meet. We don't have our team meetings in the building, we have big meetings outside. We have guys eating in small groups with which guys they really live with. We've formed a tight bubble that the guys now feel safe in, and they should feel safe in. You ask the coaches to do the same thing. When I get home, I'm not hanging out with all of the neighbors and having people at the house. Unfortunately, my wife and kids have to do the same thing because they are around me, and I'm going to be around the players. So there's so much sacrifice involved.

"For the month that our kids were here weight training and getting their bodies re-acclimated to getting ready to play football, we asked them -- and I said, if you guys don't want to do this, I'm OK with you. Go home and do what you want to do and you can come back whenever you want. I won't judge you and I get it. But they stayed, and I kept telling them, we have to do this for each other because if you go out and you get sick, you're putting your teammate at risk. You kept telling them that message and then the kids starting telling that message, and the kids started staying on top of each other.

"You get a group of kids who stayed on campus, and a group of kids who didn't go out and party with other students. And if we all want to do this, we have to sacrifice. If they really want to play football like they say they want to do, then show us by doing that. I tell them I see better than I hear. Our kids have done that. So when they ask me do your kids want to play football, I don't have to ask them, they've shown me that they want to play football. And that's why I love these kids. That's what we've done and will continue to do so. They tested yesterday, we test every two days with the players, we test with the staff. It's going to be hard, and we have to give some stuff up if we really want to play football."

 

For Perry's entire conversation with Hafley, check out the Next Pats Podcast on the NBC Sports Boston Podcast Network or watch on YouTube below: