U of M Bisons coach continues to improvise for the 2020 Canada West Footballseason”

Like a quarterback having to audible at the line of scrimmage, the six head coaches of the Canada West football conference are having to adjust their game plans on the fly when it comes to mapping out a schedule for the 2020 season.

Brian Dobie is preparing for his 25th season at the helm of the University of Manitoba Bisons. And even after a quarter-century of coaching at the Canadian university level, the changes being brought on by the coronavirus pandemic have him searching for answers. One of those solutions has been the approval of a proposed five-game schedule.

“For quite a time now — since the early stages — we have been talking about everything from players’ eligibility, to summer school, to, of course, leading up through training camps and into the season,”  Dobie said of the discussions he has been having with his five head coaching peers in the conference.

“So what we’ve decided in terms of hashing everything through, all the coaches had input to their athletic directors. And the athletic directors, as a group, made a decision that if there’s a shortened season — and anything can happen — maybe we do get to start training camp as per usual Aug. 14. Right now that’s out the window; it’s not gonna happen. So the shortened season is the next best option.”

What has been determined thus far is a round-robin format where the six teams would play each other once. What still has to be figured out is which teams get to play three home games and which have the disadvantage of playing only twice on their home turf.

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Dobie says there is always a long-shot scenario where things could change for the better. And coaches are keeping that possibility as part of their planning playbook as well.

“We know right now, the earliest we can start is Sept. 1, which is about 15-16 days later than our norm. If we were given the green light, and I know there’s a very good possibility that won’t happen, but there’s also a possibility it will,” Dobie told 680 CJOB Sports Show host Christian Aumell on Wednesday night.

“So the contingency plan there is to start Sept. 1 and play your first game around the 14th or 15th of September — and you have a slightly shortened schedule.”

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