UPDATED: I was having trouble with a file transfer, so I had to run home and get my camera. When I returned to Blair, there was eight players at practice (by my count). Up from seven earlier this a.m. I also spoke with coach Johnny Lopez, who told me they have more players than what I saw there, but they were at UCLA(?) and some other places. I was skeptical and told Coach Lopez as much. Listen, Coach Lopez seems like a good guy in a tough spot. He’s definitely trying to do the right thing. But Blair is so far behind the rest of the area in terms of preparation, that you wonder about safety. Think about the things this team has missed — spring ball, summer passing, weight room. Not good. And now they can’t even field a starting 11 to give the air a look. It just seems more practical and safe to have a JV team instead of varsity. Of course if 10 more guys show up, things may be all right, but still there’s a ton of preparation time to make up for and football is a contact sport. The less prepared you are, the more likely you are to get hurt.
I decided to drive by Blair this morning and take a look for myself after hearing from player parents on Tuesday that only six kids attended practice that morning.
seven eight players on Wednesday morning. Three linemen-types and four skill players (at least that was the type of drill they were running).
As reported yesterday, new head coach Johnny Lopez has stated that he does have a roster big enough to field a varsity team. But Lopez would not give a specific number or even an estimate as to how many players are in the program.
From what I saw Wednesday, Blair is not even close. Granted, there’s a slight chance that other players were in the weight room or doing film study. But what was on the field on Wednesday is not enough.
Aram’s take: This situation really needs to be escalated. It’s time Blair and Pasadena Unified school officials start getting real about the prospects of not having a varsity team this season. The Vikings’ first game is Aug. 24 against Hoover. If the school officials are holding out hope of having a varsity team despite the reality that the current numbers present, then they are doing a disservice to any players who want to transfer (especially seniors) and play somewhere this season.