ATHENS — Kirby Smart continued to refuse to speculate on when college football might return on the SEC Network on Thursday, but he did take a look into the future.
Smart, whose Georgia football team is among the preseason College Football Playoff favorites, predicts several provisions to protect the players when action resumes.
“There’ll be all kinds of protocols put into place,” Smart said during a Thursday appearance on The Paul Finebaum Show. “They’ll probably check everybody for fevers. They’ll have ways of monitoring, quarantining guys. Are guys going to live together? Because football players tend to live together and if one goes down, is that whole apartment?
“There may be all kinds of things like that.”
Smart reiterated that he doesn’t believe it’s healthy to speculate on the precise date of the sport’s return.
Indeed, Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly was recently critical of ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit expressing a pessimistic view.
“I heard Kirk Herbstreit come out and say, ‘No way,’ “ Kelly said on WSBT-TV in South Bend. “Kirk does not know what he’s talking about. Really? For him to talk in those terms, he’s not a scientist. He’s a college football analyst. We’ll let the scientists determine those things.”
Smart said he, too, is deferring to the experts on when college football should or could return.
“That’s a big talk, (and) that’s a big debate,” Smart said. “I’ve visited with our strength and conditioning coach, all of our (medical staff). In Ron Courson we’ve got one of the best in the business as far as athletic trainers go. He’s done it for a long time. I don’t think it’s good to speculate.”
Smart takes note that the spring sports athletes have suffered the greatest consequence of the coronavirus pandemic to date.
“I do know that most of these kids, these young men who are NCAA athletes in all sports, you look at the spring sports and they took the ultimate hit,” Smart said.
“They lost a complete season. But these are resilient kids and they’ll overcome it. Most of them are training in their own ways. Social distancing but still training and doing the things they’ve got to do to get their bodies in shape.”