WESTFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM)--An exciting time for a local college football team after going from not playing a single game last year due to COVID, to now preparing for their 2021 season.

It’s back to work for the Westfield State football team, after the coronavirus pandemic forced the Owls to not play a single game last season.

“Feels great being back here, seeing the guys here, just a great experience,” said Robbie Nelson, a Westfield State Football Player.

Despite the hot temps, the team made adjustments and took the field for their first practice on Friday.

"We moved practice from an afternoon practice today to a morning practice," said said Pete Kowlaski, head coach of Westfield State Football.

“The coaches and athletic training crew are keeping us safe, we had a real productive practice,” said Julian Bass, a junior at Westfield State.

Players told Western Mass News after having to miss last season it feels great to be back.

“It’s just great to go out there and be in a fresh environment because I didn’t have a freshman year because of COVID and everything so being out here and seeing all the guys and meeting everyone and actually play football it’s just a different experience and it’s great,” said Westfield State football players Robbie Nelson and Travis Dozier.

Head coach Pete Kowlaski says seeing his players work hard in the off-season is a true testament of their character.

"We have to deal with the cards we're dealt and we have to push on every day...I wish could tell all my players that their life is going to be easy, but there's going to be some rough spots, they need to bounce back," said Kowlaski.

These players are doing just that: bouncing back.

The Owls will open up the season in their first game on Friday, September 3 against Nichols college.

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