Stampeders defensive back Nick Statz had the opportunity to speak with the media Thursday morning about the return to team facilities, preparations for the 2020 campaign, and more.
Here’s what he had to say:
On returning to the facilities:
“It’s just nice getting back to a normal schedule. Being in quarantine, for now the third month here, we had a small training group that was training out at the Edge School before all of this happened so it was nice to get with those guys again. Obviously it’s still a little bit different with all the social distancing and the protocols we have to follow and mandates so it’s different but it’s like a light at the end of the tunnel. It kind of gives you confidence that things will start to get back to normal soon. It’s kind of a shot of relief, you get back to something that’s somewhat normal but just hoping that things continue as the phases progress we can get back to the things we normally do.
On the protocols in place for athletes:
“Right away the sent us a document before, just outlining all the guidelines and protocols but we split our training group up into smaller numbers so the group that I was with, there’s only 4 of us and we’re only allowed to have a maximum of eight people training. And then right away when you get there you have to stay outside before you can go in because with the two training groups, one goes at 9, one goes at 11, they have to clean everything when everyone uses it. So we wait outside, everyone’s keeping their distance and then our athletic trainer Josh takes each of us in and we have to do a questionnaire that has basic questions, whether you’ve had symptoms, your temperature, they take your temperature, ask questions about whether you’ve had people in your life that have been confirmed with COVID or if you have had COVID in the past, if you’ve been travelling inside or outside of the country, things like that. Then when we get to the actual workout, you have to go straight to your locker, wash your hands before you do anything. We’re not allowed to throw footballs or anything like that so it’s mostly just footwork stuff and mobility stuff for the actual running stuff. And then when we get in the gym, we have to maintain our distance, we’re not allowed to use the same equipment unless we clean it so it’s a little different but it’s nice to be with the guys again.
“Obviously just with scheduling, everyone is trying to be diligent with everyone’s time too. With Josh being there, he has to take everyone’s temperature, do all that stuff, you don’t want to be disrespecting his time so everyone has committed to the times they want to come so when you’re committed to that time you should honour that. It’s different but it’s also good to be back. Obviously, it’s new times for everybody, we’re in unchartered water for all of us so we’re happy to be a part of something where we can look into the future and maybe things get better and we can go back to normal. I think it’s a good thing that we’re able to get back into the facilities. Obviously all of the CFL teams want to start and we all wish we were in camp right now but the reality of the situation is we just got to do what we’re allowed to do and we’ve got to follow the rules that we have and that’s all you can really do right now.”
On that attitude within the group:
“I’ve been training with similar guys just like I have been throughout the whole summer, I have a few weights and stuff in my gym in my garage at my house. So I’ve been training with the four guys in my group, the same guys I’m working out with at 11, we’ve actually been doing that at my house in the garage and now we’re training together on the field so it is nice to get back into the facility and see familiar faces and actually get the structure back to what was supposed to be the normal season. Obviously the morale of everybody, we expect there’s going to be a season, we’re preparing for the potential that it couldn’t happen but we’re being optimistic and hoping that if things do get better with the progression of each phase opening up, obviously every province is different with the case numbers and all that. We’re just hoping that we’re able to play some football in the fall. A lot of people are looking forward to normal things and I think football can bring people back together obviously in a safe manner but I think everyone’s looking forward to getting back to business as usual.
On tomorrow supposed to be the opener:
“I get the yearly memory on social media pop up so that went back to my first camp last year and there’s lot of pictures and videos from the first pre season game. It’s kind of like wow, a year ago today I would have been playing. Obviously every one wants to be playing football and everyone wants it to be normal but this is just the situation that we’re in.”
On the Dinos season being cancelled:
“I was pretty shocked that Canada West decided to do it this early, I think in my opinion I feel like it was a little premature because there’s three months until the season would typically start and that’s pretty much the same time frame that we’ve been in with this pandemic so I like to hope in three months time, even right now the numbers are decreasing and there’s a lot of hope so I feel like in three months time there will definitely be more optimistic news but with things with sports in Canada, a lot of things are just financial, there’s multiple aspects of running a team. A lot of schools are doing online learning so some of the students may want to stay home and not come in and pay rent, there’s lots of things to take into account when it comes to university sports. I think it’s a little premature decision but obviously they’re experts, they have their opinions, they spoke to officials and people probably way smarter than me made the decision so you have the respect the decision but obviously it’s disheartening especially for 5th year players and people who are seniors. For us we were looking to defend our Vanier Cup with another so yeah it sucks but I think with football specifically, it was the only university sports team that had a ? and I know specifically out in quebec, a lot of those players would be aging out this year so it’s interesting to see, I know how the league wasn’t going to charge anybody with eligibility but it’d be interesting to see those players who would age out another day. Again with no season it’s interesting with the draft next year and all that stuff, it’ll be crazy, it’ll be a crazy off season. So we’ll see what happens, who knows maybe people will be transferring off to play but you never know, we’ll see what happens.
On teammates he’s training with:
“At Edge I was with Langlais, Charlie, I think Greenwood came a few times but I was in school at the time so I wasn’t there all the time. But then when the school term ended, I’ve been training right now with Colton, Hergy, Andreas, DaGoGo Maxell that’s our group right now and we just stuck with those four guys. Once COVID happened everyone was kind of on their own because all of the facilities shut down, everyone’s scrambling to get equipment and stuff so I made a little make shift squat rack with wood from Home Depot, it’s pretty funny actually. Everyone’s just trying to do what they can.”
On training with teammates:
“Even the season before COVID happened, I was just building relationships, I was only there for two weeks last year so getting a full off season with guys, getting familiar with who they are, who their families are, what their stories are beter so you get that aspect with the guys, just building those relationships and obviously it’s part of it so it’s nice that I’m going to be training with these guys are they’re going to be in town, I was pretty lucky. I don’t know, I’ve been playing basketball and stuff and I’ve been absolutely getting dunked on by Hergy, he’s 35-0 against me and Andreas so we need some help, we’re getting dummied.”
On feeling like a pro athlete again:
“You go back there, you see your name on a locker, things like that, you get to see the Stampeders logos every where. For me, it’s going back to a stadium that I’ve been playing in for 6 years now, just a familiar place. I get back on the turf and I’m like yeah this feels like home to me. And it’s nice to get back into the facility, it’s more of a professional environment, you’re in more of a routine, you’re in this environment where you feel somewhat normal. I love working out in my garage but it’s not the same.”
On being cautious during COVID:
“I think in general hygiene habits became hyper sensitive with this pandemic. My brother’s girlfriend, she’s immune compromised so my family and I were all extra cautious because we don’t want to get her sick. It was just realizing how little people took into washing their hands consistently, even myself I didn’t realize how little I did that and even in the gym environments, I feel like when you get into a team environment it’s different than when you’re out at a public gym, everyone’s cleaning their stuff but when you’re in a team environment nobody cares about sweat so when you get back into post COVID you’re very cautious of people’s space, personal belongings, things like that, sharing water bottles. Everything becomes more by yourself and I think it’s good, I honestly think it should be the way it is. It’s different but after COVID I definitely noticed these habits became way more in your face about it. And I’m carrying hand sanitizer with me now, things that I wouldn’t normally have done but I feel like it’s just habits that people would have in their normal routines and habits moving forward.”
On frequency of workouts:
“Right now they have us Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and then Saturday is just an optional day. The Wednesday is supposed to be more of skill specific so Keenan was talking about maybe if we want to do stuff on our own, because if we get all the guys in there’s multiple positions there, so if you’re working with multiple body types you might now be able to get the best workout in versus working out with just the position group that you’re specifically training with but it’s looing to be four times a week and then one on your own so pretty much business as usual just obviously with restrictions.”
“We’re all on the turf, we’re just not allowed to throw footballs yet because of the rules so it’s more footwork, drills, things like that and obviously we’re not going to be doing tackling or things like that where you’re close together, it’s more just footwork drills and we were just doing some running on the field but it’s just nice to be out on the turf.”
“No equipment or nothing, just cleats and athletic apparel, cones and stuff like that but when we’re actually in the gym, a lot of the stuff we’re doing in the gym is more tailored toward body weight and we’re not allowed to be touching the same weights unless we clean them so it’s just being cautious of that. Obviously it was just the first day today so I’m not going to get a huge gyst of what the training will be like but I’m assuming it will be very similar moving forward. Just being cautious of cleaning and stuff like that and obviously with smaller numbers, it’s easier to maintain all of the rules when there’s only four or five guys in the gym.”