Coach Faulds on Laurier’s preparations for an OUA fall return, well after a year without playing
With the Waterloo region entering the red zone of the COVID-19 framework last month, the Golden Hawks football team has been back on the field, with their sights set towards the fall.
It has been over 18 months since Laurier’s football team was last on the field, losing to Carleton in the last game of the 2019 season. Coach Faulds and his team have ramped up their training in the past month and are hopeful after a year off, that the OUA can return this upcoming fall.
“We’ve ramped it up this semester. Three mornings a week, the team is doing virtual workouts with our strength coach, Jesse Collins,” Faulds said. “Offensive and defensive meetings every Tuesday, and twice a week the players are out on the field.”
While it’s certainly different than normal practices, as the team is separated into pods, it has been refreshing to see student-athletes once again training on the Laurier campus.
“It’s been positive. You can see a difference in everyone’s mood being out there,” Faulds added.
Entering his ninth season with the Golden Hawks in 2021, Coach Faulds has always taken an optimistic approach and feels the same way about the OUA’s proposed return this upcoming fall. Faulds surely believes that the league will be able to develop a safe plan and allow student-athletes to compete, noting how important it is for the league to deliver as well.
“What is true is that everyone wants student-athletes to get there sports back,” Faulds said. “What is also true is everyone wants to do it in a safe manner and every athletic department looks different due to the pandemic,” he added.
Professional sports leagues have long resumed, university sports in the United States have undergone competition throughout the past year as have several smaller Canadian leagues (CPL, CEBL, WHL). Many of the student-athletes in the OUA have not played in a game in well over a year and the league knows how important it will be, to ensure a schedule can occur.
“I’m confident we will have a season. It might look different, whether that be a shorter schedule or limited travel … Our players and coaches will be ecstatic having any type of competition after a year of nothing,” Faulds said.
Faulds and his staff continue to prepare for what a return in the fall could look like and plan on running their annual spring camp this May. The team has plans in place for both the red and orange level of the Ontario COVID-19 framework, depending on the situation at the time.
The Golden Hawks football team have still been making news two of their players will represent Laurier at the CFL National Scouting Combine next month. Offensive lineman Bryce Bell and defensive lineman, Alfred Green will both participate in the virtual combine with hopes set towards hearing their name called this spring in the CFL Draft.
“I look for both of them to get opportunities and hopefully get to a CFL training camp. Many CFL teams have called about them,” Faulds said.
“Bryce has worked his way extremely hard to become a strong, aggressive lineman and Alfred follows a long list of amazing defensive ends here at Laurier.”
With optimism surrounding the vaccine rollout and heightened pressure on the OUA to resume student-athletes sports in a safe manner, Coach Faulds is, “keeping his fingers crossed,” that the Golden Hawks will be back on the field this fall.