JAKE PALMER‘s last two seasons running Fisher football have been some of the Bunnies’ best ever, resulting in a pair of 8-3 records and two postseason victories. He chatted with us heading into his fifth year on the sideline:

You’re currently transitioning out of the Fisher athletic director role.

How are you handling that?

Jake Palmer June 3

Fisher football coach Jake Palmer at Kellar Field, the home of Fisher football. Palmer said he feels "pretty good about sports coming back."

I’m really trying to take care of a lot of the responsibilities I have over at the grade school right now and get out in front of those things as soon as I can. It’s definitely going to be a different fall with the different responsibilities I have as the grade school principal compared to (as) the athletic director. Just trying to prep as much as I can and get my ducks in a row, even though there’s a lot of uncertainty surrounding the fall.

Have you gotten the chance to read the NFHS advisory committee’s suggestions for reopening prep sports?

I read the synopsis ... and I honestly felt pretty good about sports coming back. But after reading those NFHS guidelines (closer), I was a little bit discouraged. It seems like the three phases, especially for football basically being unavailable until Phase 3 seems pretty challenging. It seems pretty stringent for where we’re at. Despite everything, I am optimistic about the future of everything, just because things seem to be changing so quickly.

How are you preparing for the season despite not being able to work with the guys in person?

That’s something I’ve been in constant communication with our guys (about) and trying to get them to do the body weight stuff and the workouts that are kind of simplified that they’re able to do. So much is limited in regards of not only contact but athletes’ access to the weights. We’re trying to talk to our guys about, “Hey, prepare as if there’s a season. Prepare as if we’re getting ready to play this fall.” But it is a challenge in the fact there’s so much uncertainty.

What is the atmosphere like around this program despite the ongoing pandemic?

There’s a lot of excitement around our program. I’m so excited of the players we’ve had and what we’ve been able to accomplish, being such a small school in one of what I consider one of the best (Class) 1A/2A conferences in the state. It’s been really exciting to look back on the players that we’ve had and the success we’ve had, and really just attributing it to the great kids we have and how hard they’ve worked.

What’s the outlook for this season?

It’s going to be interesting this year because we’re very untested. We lost 10 seniors — great players who had the best record we’ve had over a three-year period in Fisher history. Losing some winners like that is going to be tough. I’m really excited for this (current) senior group, and we’re going to be playing a lot of players who are a little bit untested. So they’re going to be forced to grow up pretty quickly.

clikas@news-gazette.com