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Bulldawg athletics gets back to work with social distancing measures


Cove Leader-Press


Nearly three months after the University Interscholastic League postponed all athletic activities, schools were able to resume some activities yesterday with several key changes to address the COVID-19 pandemic.

The sights and sounds were very familiar with a few obvious exceptions. In the weight room, all equipment and stations were further apart from one another and each station was disinfected after workouts. In football drills, players practiced social distancing of at six to 10 feet with no offensive versus defense drills allowed.

Copperas cove's first-year head coach and athletic director Jason Hammett is excited to get back to work and return to some sense of normalcy.

“It feels awesome, said Hammett. “We had great energy this morning. Almost all of our kids showed up and a lot of the kids that didn’t show up, we knew their situation. The older group responded well to wanting to get back to work.

“There is excitement in the kids, and I can tell they are ready to go. This has been really good for us.”

With several new coaches in the mix, everyone is just trying to get a feel for one another and get back into the proper conditioning after three months of no organized training. 

“We almost have a full staff,” said Hammett. “I’ve been able to retain almost the whole staff with the exception of about four or five. We’re still looking to finish up a couple hires this week. For the most part, we’ve been virtually meeting for the last two months. We’ve been ready for this day for a while.”

Hammett has added Gary Carpenter as his new defensive coordinator with Paul Veirs coming in to coach the cornerbacks and Charles Foster will coach the defensive line. Tremaine Johnson will take over the offensive line duties for coach Hammett.

Carpenter brings 16 years of coaching experience to the Dawgs, including his last stop as head coach and athletic director at Class 2A Woodsboro ISD. Veirs comes from Class 2A Ozona ISD. Foster brings nine years of experience with stints at Bellville, Nacogdoches, and most recently, Galena Park where he coached the defensive line. Johnson comes from 4A Snyder.

Social distancing and other measures have been put in place to help keep staff and students safe from the virus including disinfectant sprayers to kill the virus.

“We’ve invested some money in backpack sprayers that will allow us to clean entire rooms in minutes instead of hours. Every time a group leaves a room, we’re completely disinfecting that room.

The biggest concern for Hammett with the current UIL guidelines is dehydration.

“The hidden danger with this is the UIL’s restriction on water,” he said. “For years, we’ve provided hundreds of gallons of water for the kids every day. Now the kids are lugging that water around on their own. My biggest fear is dehydration so, we’ve asked our kids to bring large amounts of water in single-serving containers.”

Hammett said there were close to 300-400 kids spread out on over three rooms and four hours. 

“We’ve got just about every sport doing something,” he said. “I checked on volleyball, basketball, soccer and baseball today and those groups had a decent showing. Almost every sport has participated in some level. Volleyball had a great showing this morning

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