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What we know about Georgia-Alabama after Nick Saban tests positive for COVID-19
On Wednesday, the University of Alabama announced that head football coach Nick Saban tested positive for COVID-19, as did athletic director Greg Byrne. Naturally, this led to a number of questions, chiefly what does this mean for the status of Saturday’s game between No. 2 Alabama and No. 3 Georgia?
Related: Nick Saban tests positive for COVID-19
Below, we’ll attempt to explain everything out on the matter as best we know to this point and what it possibly means for Saturday’s game, which as of 6 A.M. on Thursday morning, is still on.
What did Nick Saban say about getting COVID-19?
The Alabama coach found out he had tested positive for the virus Wednesday and immediately went home to quarantine. Prior to holding a press conference, Saban released a statement on the situation.
“At this time, I do not have any symptoms relative to COVID,” Saban said in a statement. “I informed our team of my positive test at 2 p.m. today on a Zoom call and let them know offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian will oversee preparations at the complex while I work from home.”
Saban later informed the media that Sarkisian will still call plays in addition to running the team from the sideline for Saturday’s game. Sarkisian has head coaching experience in the past, as he served in that role at Washington and USC. This is his second season serving as the offensive coordinator at Alabama, though he was an offensive analyst with the program in 2016. In between, he was the offensive coordinator with the Atlanta Falcons.
Saban stressed that he was feeling fine and that Alabama will do everything it can to play Georgia this weekend.
“So, we’re still doing everything possible to get ready for the Georgia game, preparing our team,” Sabana told reporters on a Zoom press conference. “I’ll have normal meetings tomorrow. Everything will be on Zoom. We’ll continue to do this. Sark’s kind of filling in in my absence for anything that needs coordinated in the office.
“But we’re gonna do everything we can to help our team get ready to play, and players today, it’s our goal that they play their best, give their best for the game and we’re gonna continue to try to do this.”
Does Alabama have any players that have tested positive?
At the moment, no. Saban and Byrne are the only two people associated with the Alabama program that have tested positive to this point.
“We test our players every day. I get tested every day. I feel fine. I felt fine,” Saban said. “I was very surprised by this when we got the results back at one o’clock today.”
Alabama players will be tested again on Thursday. The results of those tests will determine the status of Saturday’s game.
What has the Georgia football program said about the Nick Saban news
DawgNation’s Mike Griffith spoke with Georgia Athletic Director Greg McGarity about the news.
“This certainly sends a message, everybody better pay attention,” McGarity said. “We hope everyone gets well.”
Related: Georgia responds to Alabama football COVID-19 situation, ‘everybody better pay attention’
Kirby Smart had already met with the media on Wednesday prior to announcement of Saban’s positive case. However, Georgia wide receiver Kearis Jackson met with the media after the news had come out.
Georgia’s leading wide receiver spoke about his reaction to the news.
“Yeah, it’s definitely a wake-up call,” Jackson said. “We have to do the right things, wearing our masks and not being in places where people aren’t wearing theirs and things like that. We just have to continue doing a great job as a team, and staff by just making sure we’re wearing our mask and social distancing when we are out in public.”
What is the Georgia football COVID-19 testing protocol?
McGarity revealed that Georgia tests players on Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. The Bulldogs are set to leave for Tuscaloosa, Ala., on Friday for the 8 p.m. ET game.
This upcoming game will be Georgia’s second road game of the 2020 season, as the Bulldogs traveled to Arkansas for the season-opener.