From the Bench: Bridgeport Football on the Move from Fall? Cole Talks, Opines in Great Detail on Rumors

By Jeff Toquinto on May 31, 2020 from Sports Blog via

Anyone who knows Bridgeport football Coach John Cole knows he is not one to dabble much in rumors. It is part of his no-nonsense persona that has helped make him successful.
So when Cole not only talks about a rumor, but puts some stock into the merits of it then you know he has – at a minimum – heard it from reliable and multiple sources The rumor in question involves moving the football season away from fall.
Here is the thing. Cole had heard the rumor of moving football and several other of the “contact” related sports to spring. What he did not hear was that rumors are spreading in other states as well, including Ohio, where information made it to the internet before being removed.
In the Buckeye State, the manner was to move football and other sports to the winter months, perhaps in hopes medicine or a vaccine would be in place for COVID-19. When told about that, Cole’s response was the same as it was for moving football to spring.
“I have absolutely, no problem with it moving,” said Cole.
Cole’s thoughts are not based on any wild pandemic conspiracy. Rather, it is rooted in what helps make Bridgeport successful – raw and brute force.
“July is the month before the season starts for us officially and we’re trying to get everyone ready for the season and, through no fault of their own, the kids are on vacation,” said Cole. “There are times you are lucky to see seven, eight, nine kids in three weeks of July working out.
“That’s so important to us because our scheme is based on power and contact and we need to get as strong as possible,” he continued. “You think about what spread teams go through in practice and what contact teams go through. Believe me, muscle provides that cushioning you need when you have to face nine or 10 men in the box,
Cole said whether football was moved to winter or spring would provide another benefit. He said starting the season during the actual school year is an underrated bonus for the existing winter and spring sports.
“Structure is huge, and we rely on structure as well,” said Cole. “If they’re in school, it’s easier to go straight from school to lift. The structure is already there right before the season starts as opposed to coming to lift in the summer.”
Oh, there is something else. And it is something Cole and every coach in the state that sports a turf field – and there are plenty of them – know all too much about.
“Conditioning in cooler weather, even if it’s in the 80s as opposed to some of the insanely ridiculous temperatures we’ve had all the way through September,” said Cole. “You play and practice and that heat, and if it’s 90 degrees out then it is 100-plus on that turf. Anyone that tells you that’s not a hindrance is kidding themselves.”
While Cole has plenty of thoughts on the matter, he has one other big thought on it.
“I don’t think it will happen. I almost would guarantee you it’s not going to happen,” said Cole.
One very important person backs Cole’s opinion. Last Tuesday, West Virginia Secondary Schools Activities Commission President Bernie Dolan told The Logan Banner that the plan is to have football in 2020 even if “it is just with players, coaches and media present.”
That, of course, is an argument for debate if it comes to that for another day, another blog. The article, and Dolan’s comments he made to Grant Taylor, are worth reading. Click HERE to do that.
Cole, like his thoughts on no objection to a season change, has his reasons why he is certain a move will not take place.
“If you did it, I’d think you’d have to make it permanent. If you went to spring and ended in June and then started back up in August, it wouldn’t be enough time. Maybe it would be for other sports, but not football,” said Cole. “The other issue is for schools like Martinsburg. They play a whole lot of out of state schools in the fall. Would the SSAC have to mandate other schools play them? They just can’t make up games against teams from other states if those states are still playing in the fall.
“The logistics of this would be extremely difficult,” Cole continued. “At the same time, I really believe they’ve talked about it. I just don’t think there’s much of a chance it will happen, but I think there’s some fact behind this rumor even though I don’t know exactly where it’s coming from.”
Editor's Note: Top photo shows BHS Coach John Cole calling for a timeout last year, while sophomore Cam Cole runs against Liberty. Bottom photo shows the coaching staff working in the summer heat in August of 2019. Top two photos by Ben Queen Photography.

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