The 2020 Hail Varsity Football Yearbook hits mailboxes and newsstands very soon. In anticipation, we’re sharing stories that hit the cutting room floor from our main features. Let's take a look at how sophomore wide receiver Wan'Dale Robinson made the most of his time in quarantine.
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Preparing for the 2020 college football has been different this year. The shutdown that resulted in response to the COVID-19 pandemic ended spring football for programs across the country. A number of players returned home to continue working out to stay ready. No one knew at the time when they'd be allowed back on campus.
“I think we're handling that as well as anybody,” Frost said last month. “I'm really confident in our guys’ conditioning right now and the fact that they've continued to be able to get work done. Obviously, that's a little bit easier here in Lincoln because this hasn't been as bad in Nebraska as some places. But we have an idea of what every single one of our guys is doing, where they're doing it, who they are, who they're in contact with.
“For the kids that stayed in town, we know what's going on with them. For the kids back home, we're trying to help them find solutions to stay in shape. I think our kids will come back and practice for sure when the time is right.”
It’s a tough spot that many players and recruits found themselves in. Leading up to the NFL Draft, former players like recent Nebraska graduate Lamar Jackson admitted that he would have had a difficult time adjusting to that new reality too.
“It’s getting to the point where I feel like I don’t know when I need to be in shape or when I’m going to play football again,” Jackson said. “It’s hard to say, ‘Let me go do this every day, let me do this, this, and this.’ It kind of messes up your thought process just because the road is at a standstill. I can’t just turn my room into a gym. I can’t just turn my living room into a gym. There’s certain stuff I need.”
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Nebraska’s current roster has a wide range of situations at home. Expecting everyone to be able to keep up the physical demands of playing college football on their own time was a big expectation. It's tough to replicate working out the same way those players would have in Lincoln.
One player that had a unique situation was sophomore wide receiver Wan’Dale Robinson. His father, Dale, owns G.U.R.U. Fitness a gym in their hometown of Frankfurt, which provided Wan’Dale a much different situation than almost all his teammates.
Nebraska provided its players with a number of workouts that they could do at home. Wan’Dale was able to use those guidelines from the Huskers’ strength and conditioning staff at his dad’s gym.
“Just being able to have my own gym and have access to do what I need to do is best part of it,” Wan’Dale said about that access. “I don't have to worry about not having a gym or not having weights or somewhere to run.”
There is also another side to staying sharp. The ability to get work in physically was great for Wan’Dale but his dad said that there was an emphasis on keeping the Husker mentally sharp too.
It was more about him being mentally prepared for the season and understanding his role as a leader,” Dale said. “Training was great because I didn’t have to tell him to train. He took upon himself to get it done.”
There were even more benefits to Wan’Dales time at home, some completely unrelated to football. He had the opportunity to be home with his newborn sister, which was an opportunity he wouldn’t have had if the lockdown didn’t happen. It would have been upwards of a month before he would have had the chance to meet her because of spring football. His family planned on bringing her to Lincoln in April for the spring game. That would have been their first time together.
Even during an unprecedented time, there were positives to be taken from the lockdown. Now the team has returned to Lincoln, which includes Wan’Dale, and voluntary workouts are in full swing.