The Hickman football team is holding team workouts with safety precautions in place to keep players and staff healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Head coach Cedric Alvis said the team is split into stable groups of 25 players. Each group works out in a specific zone until it's time to rotate. Each zone is cleaned in between groups.
Coach Alvis watches the workouts from atop the away team bleachers, and he communicates with his players and staff through a radio.
"If I go in to one of those stable groups - If I enter that group - I cannot change," Alvis said. "The only way I can effectively witness everything is if I stay up here, and I do not insert myself in any of those groups."
Alvis said he makes sure his players and staff stay at least six feet apart at all times. The Kewpies currently work out Monday/Wednesday/Friday from 6:30-8 a.m. Coach Alvis said the player response has been great.
Senior wide receiver Devin Turner said things are different, but he's just happy to be back on the field.
"Every time I’m out here - it makes me want to go harder just cause we don’t have the same opportunities that we've had, so I think as a group everyone else has also wanted to work harder," Turner said.
Senior lineman Adison Barnett-Hill said he feels safe with the precautions in place.
"We're constantly told to stay six feet apart, stay in your group - our stable groups," Barnett-Hill said. "D-line and O-line, we're together, so I don't see the receivers, running backs, quarterbacks or anyone. The people I see are the only people I come in contact with."
Barnett-Hill and Turner agree the pandemic has made them even more determined headed into the season.
"Even when we're not together, we're still doing our own work," Barnett-Hill said. "He [Coach Alvis] was sending out workouts for us to do, Zoom meetings getting into our playbook, so I think even when we're a little behind physically, we're definitely there mentally right now."
We also spoke to Coach Alvis about social justice and equality issues in the United States. He said he hasn't been able to speak in depth about this with his players due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but he has offered his support. He said this is the perfect time for athletes to use their platform to promote change.
"My thing to them is to just be safe," Alvis said. "If they want to support it, and they want to get involved - I don't know if they'll ever have a time in their life as unique as this one. Change is imminent, so if you want to be out there, and you want to be a part of it, kudos to you. Be safe. Be smart. That's been my only message."
Alvis said one key to moving forward as a nation is for people to step out of their comfort zone and meet new people.
"I think one of the coolest things before all of this started during the quarantine was when I was going out to Walmart - I feel like people were so nice because we’ve been locked up, so we haven’t seen anyone," Alvis said. "So when you finally do see someone, it’s like 'Hey! How you doing?' Imagine if we were like that all the time. What would we be? What would this world be like if everyone greeted people with a smile instead of a mug or not even acknowledging someone? I think little things like that could go a long way."
On a separate note - former Mizzou and Rock Bridge standout Alex Ofodile has joined the Hickman football staff as the wide receivers coach. Ofodile recently graduated from MU with his Master's degree after medically retiring.