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SEC football practices to begin Aug. 17

SEC football practices to begin Aug. 17

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Texas A&M football practice

Texas A&M quarterback Kellen Mond hands off the ball to running back Jashaun Corbin during Thursday’s practice at the Coolidge Practice Fields. You can view more photos from Fall Camp here

Southeastern Conference football teams will begin fall practice Aug. 17. A team is allowed to have 25 practices before its season opener, limited to 20 hours per week under the new guidelines.

Teams before Aug. 17 can have 14 hours per week of strength and conditioning, meetings and walk-throughs in guidelines the Southeastern Conference announced on Tuesday. Coaches are required to give players two days off per week until the first game week of the season.

These guidelines follow the SEC announcement on Thursday that it would have a 10-game, conference-only schedule because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The season will start Sept. 26. Previously, teams were allowed 29 fall practices with players given one day off per week in a 12-game regular-season schedule that included eight league games. This year’s practice calendar was developed per recommendations of the SEC’s Return to Activity and Medical Guidance Task Force. Texas A&M athletic director Ross Bjork said Friday all decisions have been made with a priority on the health and safety of everyone involved.

“This is about what’s in the best public health situation for our communities, and obviously, our student-athletes, who we serve and protect every single day,” Bjork said.

The SEC is in the process of reworking the schedule with all teams adding two opponents from the other division. Texas A&M was scheduled to play every other West Division team along with South Carolina and Vanderbilt from the East Division, which also includes Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Missouri and Tennessee. One option would be for the SEC to have teams adding their opposite-division opponents slated for the 2021 and ‘22 seasons, which in A&M’s case would be Missouri (2021) and Florida (2022) along with permanent crossover foe South Carolina. Another option would be to add opponents based on strength of schedule.

A&M originally was set to begin conference play against Arkansas at AT&T Stadium on Sept. 26. Bjork said he is in the process of negotiating a move for the game to Kyle Field which will give the Aggies five home games and five road games this season.

The NCAA starting on July 24 allowed 20 hours per week of team activities that included up to eight hours of strength and conditioning, up to six hours or walk-through activities and up to six hours of team meetings that included film review. Starting on Friday through Aug. 16 the SEC will allow its teams 14 hours of such activities.

When practice begins on Aug. 17 the teams will have a five-day acclimatization period — two days in helmets only, two days in helmets and shoulder pads and a day in full pads.

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