Second year running back Nelmes describes his adjustment to a fall without football
“Me personally, I was really looking forward to it.”
That was Men’s Football running back and specialists, Tanner Nelmes’ response to the OUA’s cancellation of the fall football season.
The first year all-rookie of course understands the decision and the priority to put safety first in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic but was looking forward to his second season, one that might have had an increased offensive role under Coach Michael Faulds.
The 6’0, 205-pound sociology major was recruited to the Golden Hawks prior to last season as a running back, however it was on special teams where Nelmes made his mark.
In consecutive weeks Nelmes blocked a punt and was able to return one of them 42 yards to the endzone for his first career touchdown in a week 3 game against the University of Toronto Blues.
Although disappointed in the cancellation, Nelmes has stayed incredibly determined and is focused on his training.
“We never know when we will get that opportunity, but we will stay prepared and I am looking forward to training for next season,” Nelmes said.
With the transition to virtual training and team meetings rather than in-person practices, Nelmes has described the adjustment as really good, crediting his coaching staff for keeping him prepared.
“Coach Faulds and the coaching staff fortunately has been really good at organizing and scheduling meetings both positionally and for the team,” Nelmes said.
While Nelmes benefits greatly from the team’s strength and conditioning program as well as the meetings with the coaching staff, he has also stayed focused on his workout routine, adjusting to life at home.
“Lucky enough I’ve been able to have a workout facility in my own house, a squat rack, bench press and cables that I’ve been using,” Nelmes said.
“I live on a four-acre lot as well that allows me to do some field work and work on my agility and speed. I’m just getting ready for whenever we can practice and play.”
Le’vondre Gordon had graduated this past season after a remarkable career with the Golden Hawks and Nelmes was poised to have a larger role on the offensive side of the ball.
While being third on the Laurier running back depth chart last year, Nelms dressed in all eight games and rushed for 37 yards on 11 carries, averaging 3.4 yards per carry.
He has praised the new playbook that new offensive coordinator Todd Galloway has brought to the team. The offensive zoom meetings have provided valuable knowledge to the team regarding the learning of the new playbook and gaining knowledge from Coach Faulds and coach Galloway.
Although the Laurier facilities have remained close as cases in Ontario spike, Nelmes is more committed than ever to his role on the team and his own fitness. He also gained a sense of appreciation for the facilities he has at his house in Guelph.
“Right now, I’m more driven than I was before. Knowing anything can be taken away at any moment, you have to make the most of whatever you got, whether it’s a skipping rope in the backyard or working out in your basement,” Nelmes said.
The OUA has not announced a decision for sports winter term sports yet; however it seems increasingly doubtful as the “second wave” has begun in Ontario.
Like his coach, Michael Faulds, Nelmes remain optimistic and continues making the most of every opportunity that is given to him.