HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Three days after the University of Hawaii’s football practice was shut down after four players tested positive for COVID-19, the 'Bows were back on the field Saturday.
“It’s truly one day at a time, with COVID it’s one hour at a time," Head Coach Todd Graham told reporters after Saturday’s practice.
“With the break that we had the other day, I had to go back and say schematically we’ve got to back off of this. We might not be able to do this till week two, I think that’s what’s going to determine your success."
This training camp has been anything but regular for Graham and his staff.
But with only a little over three weeks until their season opener against Fresno State, Graham wants to keep the play book as simple as possible.
“It’s all about what you can execute at a high level with elite discipline, so simplicity is going to be the key for us.” he said.
The electricity was in the air when the 'Bows returned to the practice fields ready to resume training while also making sure practice doesn’t have to be stopped again.
“I can tell that they want to practice, they want to play, they’re eager and excited, I can sense that from them.” Graham said. “Obviously today, after having to miss two practices, in between then they were calling and communicating, where are we at coach, what do we got to do, what are the things that I’ve got to do better so this doesn’t happen, how can we do a better job than what were doing."
"So there is a different energy about them right now, that I like.”
Mitigating unnecessary exposures will likely come from within the locker room, says running back Miles Reed, who thinks it will be players making sure other players are being safe.
“(Coach) Graham always preaches that this is our team ultimately, it’s going to come from self-policing that real change is going to be made.” Reed said.
“So it’s up to the older guys, the seniors, the starters and all that to really make sure that guys are keeping their mask on and really trying to stay six feet apart, all that kind of stuff, so it really comes internally, that’s really where it’s going to have an impact on players.”
It is not a guarantee that the Warriors will not have any more unexpected stoppages, but that cannot be an excuse for their progression on the field, according to new defensive coordinator and former UH linebacker Victor Santa Cruz.
“Were in unprecedented times, so when you want to sit back and complain about a stop and go, no ones going to feel sorry for you," said Coach Santa Cruz said.
“So you just keep adapting, you just keep dealing with it everyday, so our determination and our focus, our excitement to get back on the field is what’s fueling us. Whatever challenge is coming, we accept and let’s keep going forward.”
In a year full of changes and challenges, coach Graham has a simple message for his team, in order to get to week one. “At the end of the day, if we want to play, then we’ve got to do a tremendous job of keeping each other healthy and safe.” he said.
The 'Bows open the season on Oct. 24, a road game against Fresno State.