UH has started the season in a weird place: the Sunday-Saturday-Friday-Thursday six-day beginning has put a lot of demands on the program and its players. Demands that you wouldn’t normally think about.
The most important of those is practice time. The NCAA limits countable athletically related activities to 20 hours per week. With six-day weeks, it’s really hard to get to 20 hours anyways. Here’s why:
1. You’re limited to 20 hours participation which includes games, practices, workouts/conditioning, film room, walkthroughs, or any other “required activity with an athletics purpose involving student-athletes and at the direction of, or supervised by, one or more of an institution’s coaching staff (including strength and conditioning coaches).”
2. 3 of those 20 hours are the game. So if it’s a game week, you’re down to 17 hours of practice/film time. And after a game, you can’t have any countable activities. So you can’t play at 11 a.m. then have the players back at 8 p.m. for film study. That’s not allowed.
3. Athletes must be given one full day off each week. Nothing countable can occur (players can have academic or medical treatment sessions). The full-day off can be a travel day but coaches rarely do that – mainly because travel days are the day before a game. That’s when you want to be going over film, walk-throughs, etc.
4. Countable hours are limited to 4 hours a day. Players are required to initial/sign a statement each week during the season that states they were under 4 hours a day and 20 hours a week.
With a six-day week, you lose a day for the off day. So it’s a 5-day week. But the game is on one of those days so now it’s a four-day week. You’re down to four days with 17 hours. But you can only use four hours each of those days – you can’t even get to the 17 hours.
Walk-throughs are available on the day of the game (beforehand) and many teams do that. No pads, balls, or any equipment allowed in the walkthrough, though. Most teams don’t practice on travel days, either, although UH might on the day before the Tulane game.
But look at the calendar: when are you supposed to get better? When are you supposed to heal from getting banged up each week or from injury?
Beyond practice time, the short travel week to Tulane is brutal. The AAC and UH put our players in a tough position to start this year. You’ll finish the game with a good Wazzu team around midnight Friday and be back to campus between 1-2 a.m. And then you’re getting on a plane to New Orleans 4 days later (and one of those in-between is a required off-day).
It’s the schedule that makes Tulane the biggest trap game or slow-start game imaginable. And it’s the first conference game; our recent history in those games isn’t pretty:
2018 – down 26-17 to Tulsa in the 4th;
2017 – Beat Temple 20-13 in an ugly game;
2016 – Lead Cinci 16-12 going to the 4th;
2015 – Lead Tulsa 24-17 going to 4th;
2014 – Lose to UCF when you don’t even score a TD.
After Tulane, you get a couple of extra days off before starting a normal, 7-day week vs. UNT then getting an off week. Hopefully, the players get some downtime – they’ve earned it.
The 6-day week is really affecting us on the OL. It’s tough to come back from injury as a lineman when you’re getting shorted a day each week. By Tulane, they’ll have lost 3 days. How many guys are banged up on the OL?
We’ve had 8 different starters in the first two games. Currently, we are projecting the same starting OL that we saw at OU but that is obviously subject to change. Be on the lookout: do we see these five numbers across the front to start the game? 74-77-52-72-62 (that’s J. Jones, K. Murphy, B. Jones, J. Murphy, J. Williams).
When the league schedule came out in February, we noted that the Cougars will have played 20 short weeks since 2014 (moving OU to Sunday made it 21). That’s the second-most in the country (Boise will have played 23).