On Thursday the University of Colorado Buffaloes football team was given clearance to begin fall camp on the condition that they would quarantine themselves for two weeks in a local hotel. For some, this may invoke images of Stephen King’s The Shining, but the young Buffs have embraced their mini quarantine.
“I think this bubble will help us,” said senior wide receiver K.D. Nixon. “It’s different. You get a chance to be with all your brothers—there’s a hundred of us. So just being in a hotel where you can talk to each other, have fun with each other (and) love each other. Even though it’s social distancing…you still get the time to just have fun and be around each other. I think within that you can build, you can grow a team, you can have a great chemistry and that’s something that I think’s going to pay off.”
Nixon’s fellow senior on the defensive side of the ball, inside linebacker Nate Landman, shared a similar sentiment.
“I think the bubble will actually be pretty beneficial for us,” Landman said. “Being a young team I think developing some team morale and some team chemistry is a necessity for us to be successful this year. I think having that close quarters inside the hotel will be nothing but beneficial for us keeping guys safe and like I said, just having that time to bond and build upon our team characteristics.”
The harsher reality of the pandemic resumes back on campus at around 6 a.m. when the Buffs begin their daily COVID-19 testing procedure. CU is tested in groups of ten players who are spaced out in a holding room while waiting for their results. CU’s Director of Health and Performance Miguel Rueda said the entire process takes over two hours to ensure the Buffs are safe to practice.
All things considered, Head coach Karl Dorrell said the first day of testing was a success.
“We alloted for the right amount of time and everybody was in the first meeting at 8 o’clock and everybody was cleared and ready to go,” Dorrell said. “That’s going to be the process every day. Everybody’s going to have to go through a clearing mechanism to make sure that they’re able to go to meetings and practice.”
Across the country, multiple professional and collegiate programs have seen coronavirus outbreaks within their teams, delaying or canceling games as a result. CU will have 25 practices prior to its season opener on Nov. 7 and Dorrell believes his players understand the importance of staying in the hotel and following regulations.
“I think they get why we’re doing it and (we’re) trying to keep everybody as healthy as we can still operating under the Boulder ordinance in terms of things that are really specific for us to do,” Dorrell said. “They understand, they get it. There’s still a lot of issues with this virus playing football right now. You see it professionally, you definitely see it on the college level. It’s not a perfect science but they understand the importance of trying to do things in a protocol that we’re doing it so that it can give us a chance to be healthy at the start of the season.”