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Saturday, May 21, 2022

Football

Dana Holgorsen on UH football pausing practices: ‘We took time just as coaches to just shut up, listen’


UH football coach Dana Holgorsen meeting with media in August 2019. "We had Zoom calls and stuff, but without being face-to-face or stuff, it was hard," Holgorsen told media via Zoom on Wednesday about challenges communicating with players this year due to the pandemic. | Kathryn Lenihan/The Cougar

UH football coach Dana Holgorsen meeting with media in August 2019. “We had Zoom calls and stuff, but without being face-to-face or stuff, it was hard,” Holgorsen told media via Zoom on Wednesday about challenges communicating with players this year due to the pandemic. | Kathryn Lenihan/The Cougar

The UH football team returned to the practice field this week following a break on Saturday and Sunday to focus on the social and racial issues going on around the country, and on Wednesday afternoon, head coach Dana Holgorsen took time to address those two days.

“I appreciated the fact (the players) said hang on, timeout we need to talk about some of the things going on,” Holgorsen said on a Zoom call with the media. “We took time just as coaches to just shut up and listen and hear what’s going on and just listen to (the players) and really reflect on the human aspect of it.”

Following the months of layoff due to the coronavirus, Holgorsen said it has been a challenge to stay connected with his players, and just address issues that they have had to deal with.

In late May when George Floyd was killed after a police officer had his knee on his neck for over eight minutes in Minnesota, the UH student-athletes were still not allowed to be with the coaches for workouts, so it made it difficult for the coaching staff to be able to physically be there for them and help them navigate their emotions with the situation.

With the recent shooting of Jacob Blake by the police in Kenosha, Wisconsin, the student-athletes felt like they could not just continue with everyday football business, and needed to bring awareness to these incidents.

“Today’s sit out at UH was about coming together against racial injustice, to have difficult conversations and to devise a plan to battle the hate shown to people of color in our community,” senior linebacker, and one of the leaders on the team, Grant Stuard tweeted on Saturday afternoon. “It was about unity. If you wish to stay divided, that’s on you. But WE will be United.”

Since Saturday, the University’s football team’s social media accounts have posted multiple statements and listed commitments on how they plan to help the student-athletes in bringing awareness and making a change in regards to this issue. 

The student-athletes from all programs have also come together to hold a march later this week to bring more light on the issue of racial and social injustice in America.

“My job is to be there and support them every way I can,” Holgorsen said. “I’d like to think within the walls of this building everybody’s treated the same. If the world was like what’s going on in the locker room, I think everybody would be better because of it”

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