KJ Sails leads AAC #WeWantToPlay movement

KJ Sails is leading an AAC player-led initiative to play ball this season. Currently, the conference plans on having a season. ORACLE FILE PHOTO/BRIAN HATTAB

It has been 24 hours since Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence and other notable Power Five football players sparked a movement on Twitter. The hashtag #WeWantToPlay has become a rallying cry for players who want to safely play college football this season.

 

USF’s own KJ Sails took part in bringing the movement to the AAC.

“We’ve seen that Trevor Lawrence had put it out,” Sails said. “It was great for college football because, as players, we do need a voice. I felt that we should take initiative and have our players speak out. I spoke to Brady White from Memphis, SMU’s Shane Buechele and a couple of guys and they were on board with it, so I feel like us players have a voice and it’s awesome.”

It wasn’t long before USF coach Jeff Scott tweeted his support of the movement.

Since spring practices were canceled in March, conversations of scrapping or postponing seasons have become the center of attention.

Some leagues have already decided they won’t be playing this fall.

The Big Ten on Tuesday decided to postpone its season until at least the spring, and the Pac-12 followed suit hours later. Before then, the MAC canceled all fall sports on Saturday and the Mountain West postponed its season Monday. 

USF players and coaches say they’re ready to play safely and are prepared for when the conference decides whether to play. Currently, the AAC is still standing with the SEC, ACC and Big 12 and is holding out for a season.

The consensus in the USF locker room is that players are on board with playing this season, partly because they believe they’d be safer at school than at home.

“A lot of our players feel like we’re safe here than going home,” Sails said. “Our medical staff has done an unbelievable job of keeping us safe, and we’re following the proper protocols. So we feel that we have a plan here to play safely, and I feel that we can get that done.”

It has been made clear that the team has one main goal in the short term — play football this season.

“In the locker room, all we talk about is bringing home a conference championship,” Mike Hampton said. “We can’t do that sitting at home. Everybody is prepared to come practice every day.”

Defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer advised his players to focus on the immediate future and leave the decisions up to the conference officials. On the chance there is a season, players need to be mentally and physically ready, and they also need to be ready if there isn’t a season, according to Spencer.

“It’s day by day,” he said. “Can’t look too far in the future because the future is unknown. I think they’re prepared somewhat mentally for the worst-case scenario.

“If not, then we just have to prepare like we’re gonna have the opener until they tell us differently.”