The article below originally appeared on MercuryNews.com and is being reprinted with permission.
College of San Mateo football coach Bret Pollack is busy doing … well … nothing.
“As little as I possibly can,” he said.
The Bulldogs recently completed their summer regimen, which included a five-week phase with four practices per week. Now it’s 2½ weeks of time off before reconvening Aug. 4.
Those 20 practices were key in preparing CSM for the upcoming season, which now includes a four-team playoff in Northern California.
“In football, what’s important for me at this time of year is getting them in shape, No. 1,” Pollack said. “No. 2, teaching them how to play hard when they are on the field. And No. 3 would be teaching them the basic offense, defense, structure, practice format. But, without a doubt, we have to get in shape.”
Pollack’s usual goal by the end of summer is to have 85 percent of his players pass a rigorous conditioning test. The Bulldogs tested out at 86 percent.
“So they’re on path with my goals,” Pollack said. “And the guys that didn’t pass are continuing to work right now and will need to pass by the time of the first game.”
The summer session can also be an important tool to keep the student-athletes on their transferable path. Last year, CSM athletes earned $2.3 million in scholarship money to help them move on, with football accounting for $1.7 million of that in 24 transfers, Pollack said. The prior year saw 33 Bulldogs football players transfer, a program record, and once again Pollack has set a high bar for the 2014-15 crop of student-athletes.
“We had the highest GPA we’ve had in a long time in core courses and overall,” Pollack said. “This group of guys have performed very, very well. The only measurement we don’t have is how well are they going to play against a different opponent. We’re just playing ourselves right now, so it’s kind of hard to measure.”
When practice resumes, the quarterback battle will continue between a quartet that includes Menlo-Atherton grad Willy Fonua. Also in the mix are Justin Burgess, Taylor Sanft and Jeremy Cannon, a dual-threat QB from North Carolina.
“We have a group of guys slugging it out,” Pollack said.