Arkansas High’s Barry Norton believes there’s going to be something positive come from the Coronavirus pandemic.
“I can’t think of anything that compares to this,” said the Razorbacks’ veteran athletic director and head football coach. “The virus has just kind of slowed the world down, but something good is going to come out of it. Personally, I’ve got to spend a lot of time with my family for the first time in a long time. If you don’t find something positive, it’ll drive you crazy.”
Norton and his coaching staff continue to work, hoping school will start on schedule in the fall, and that there will be a football season.
“Right now we’re trying to be creative in how we communicate with our kids, and stay in touch with them,” said Norton. “It’s really important to have that contact from the sixth grade all the way up. Coaches are texting, emailing, doing whatever it takes to make sure our kids finish the year up the right way academically.
“We want the kids to know we’ll do anything to help. It’s a tough time for everybody, especially our seniors. Their year got cut short. This group will always be remembered for their year because of the way things turned out.”
AHS coaches creating positive thoughts via zoom meetings
Norton and his staff are meeting via zoom on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Those meetings aren’t necessarily about football.
“We’ve tried to stay away from anything athletically,” said Norton. “We did give the kids workouts that they could do at home by themselves. Our staff wants to be a resource for the kids. We’re going to get through this thing. When it’s over we’ll get back together and go from there.”
One thing that the Razorback coaches have discussed is when will the team be able to get back into a group setting. Norton has a plan for early June, mid-June, early July, or August.
“If we can get back together in June, no problem,” he said. “If it’s July or August, I don’t know. We just hope it starts up again this year, and I think it will. I think you could see football pushed back to conference play. I don’t know that. That’s purely a Barry Norton thought.
“The number one thing every coach needs to think of is that when we’re able to get back with out kids, is make sure they’re healthy, and that we don’t push them too fast. The second thing involves college recruiting. Recruiting is going to be different. Colleges will have to make evaluations a little quicker with less information. As coaches we’ve got to do a great job of providing that information for them.”
Norton studies NCAA National Champion LSU
Well know for his loyalty to the University of Texas, Norton has taking advantage of free time to study 2020 National Champion LSU.
“As coaches we look at different things every year,”said Norton. “I’ve got all of LSU’s offensive film from last season. My son (Clete) is also home from Texas A&M, where he’s been working with the Aggies’ football program. It’s really been fun sitting down and talking football with him.
“As a staff I’ve asked my coaches to break down last season. We’re doing a quality control study on what we did good last year, and what we did bad. I want to make sure we spend this time growing as coaches, and continuing our education in this business. It never slows down, and there’s something new always going on.”
Unfortunately for everyone, the new in 2020 was the Coronavirus, which did slow things down in many respects.