RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- After a year off, the Shaw Bears are back on the gridiron.
"It's back, you feel me," said defensive back Kevin Sherman. "We 're glad to be out here. We're flying around, getting back in to it. It's a great feeling to be honest."
It's more than a feeling, it's a blessing, according to running back Sidney Gibbs.
"It's really a blessing," Gibbs said. "Now, we out here running around with each other click-clacking because we got on pads now. It's just a blessing."
Shaw missed last season because of COVID-19. Head coach Adrian Jones said the hardest part about that was the mental aspect.
"Just being on that regimen," he said. "Just being able to get up in the morning, come to work and do those things. You had a lot of time, so just trying to figure out what do I do with my time? Instead of coaches, we became counselors, trying to make sure our guys did everything right."
Not participating while other teams played their seasons was difficult for the Bears.
"It was horrible watching everyone else play," said Sherman. "Us not playing, it was kind of heartbreaking. We had to keep working out but it wasn't the same as being out on the field."
The Bears are picked to finish sixth in the CIAA, but players have higher expectations and said the low expectations by others gives them motivation.
"I'm expecting big things out of us this year," Sherman said. "Definitely a CIAA championship, try to make a National championship too. I like the Shaw Bears this year."
Gibbs, too thinks the Bears could surprise some people this season.
"I know a lot of people think we're just going to be the same Shaw Bears that we were a few years back, but that's not what's happening," Gibbs said. "I'm a person that believes actions speak louder than words so September 2nd, when we step on Wingate's field, we'll show what we've been doing all summer."
That opener at Wingate is on a Thursday. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m.