Winona football coach Joey Tompkins was looking forward to spring football practice as an opportunity to see Jekeyvion Burnley at quarterback and see who might replace eight graduated starters on defense. But there won't be spring practice this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Mississippi High School Activities Association website states:
“The MHSAA Executive Committee also voted to cancel spring football practice for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year. The committee will look at adding an additional week of preseason practice for schools prior to the 2020 football season and upcoming sports physicals for the next school year will be addressed with our schools.”
“It's kind of a big deal,” Tompkins said.
An'Darius Coffey was the major part of the Tigers offense as a dual threat quarterback the past two years. Burnley is heir apparent, but he played very sparingly last year as a sophomore, with eight passes and 22 carries. Spring practice would have given him an early opportunity to slide into the starting position.
“We have a lot of new faces on defense,” Tompkins said. “I was hoping we would get a lot done defensively during the spring.”
Some schools held spring practice prior to the cancellation order which gives them an unfair advantage, Tompkins said. “The ones of us who haven't had it are kind of getting punished.”
If an extra week of preseason practice is approved it would be in August when Mississippi summers can be brutal. “I don't like the idea of starting early because it's going to be hot,” Tompkins said, and he added that it could conflict with family vacation plans.