Georgia walk-on linebacker shares how Kirby Smart, team is preparing for season amid pandemic
Georgia players and coaches have not said much in recent days with regard to how the Bulldogs are preparing for the upcoming 2020 season. A few tweeted that they wanted to play this season, but none to the level that Trevor Lawrence and Justin Fields did.
But we did get some insight on the matter as walk-on linebacker Matthew Brown spoke with CNN, and discussed how the recent changes to the sport, such as the Big Ten and PAC-12 cancelling the fall season, have and haven’t affected the Bulldogs in their prep.
“With coach (Kirby) Smart, he’s been teaching us that we have to stay ready whenever the call comes. If it comes, we’ll be ready to play,” Brown said. “If you stay prepared, you’ll be ready to go and that’s our mission and for the next few weeks.”
University of Georgia football player Matthew Brown says "if it is time to play, we'll be ready," as his team awaits news from the SEC amid Covid-19 safety concerns.
He believes campus is "the best spot for us to be in terms of not contracting the virus."https://t.co/RIzAv804VH pic.twitter.com/D4d9VuJeX7
— CNN Newsroom (@CNNnewsroom) August 11, 2020
Brown is a redshirt sophomore from Guyton, Ga. Brown gave insight into how he feels within the Georgia football facility. He told CNN that he had tested antibody positive for COVID-19 today but he did not know when he had the virus.
“They’re taking great care of us,” Brown said. “I’m so fortunate to have the resources that I’m able to have access to and I feel that’s going to be a big help in terms of moving forward with more and more students coming on to campus.
Brown added that all tests from his family members came back negative. He further explained his confidence in the Georgia staff and Smart.
“With our medical staff, I’m sure I have the confidence that they’re going to take care of our team,” Brown said. “With coach Smart and the leadership group, we stay disciplined and follow the protocols. I feel like this is the best spot for us to be when it comes to the virus and the guidelines.
“I think it’s going to be pretty interesting to see how everything goes but in terms of being fearful of the risks, no sir. It’s college football. It’s a thrill to be here and there’s value to be here. Everyone wants to participate and we’ll see how it goes. ”
Brown was speaking just minutes after the Big Ten announced that it would not be having a fall football season, as it now hopes to have one in the spring. In the time since Brown spoke, the PAC-12 became the second Power 5 conference to announce that it would not be playing this fall. Those two conferences join the MAC and Mountain West in postponing college football for the fall of 2020.
The SEC though is still planning on having a college football season at this point in time. Teams are allowed to begin practicing for the season on Aug. 17 and the season is set to start on Sept. 26. Georgia will play 10 SEC opponents, though it is not yet known in which order the games will be played. The Bulldogs added Arkansas and Mississippi State to the schedule in addition to their previously scheduled SEC games.
Part of the reason for the delayed start is in part to see what impact students coming back to campus has on student-athletes. At Georgia, in-person classes are set to begin on Aug. 20.
Brown spoke to the possibility of being concerned about the potential of infecting other people.
“The crazy thing about It’s just a matter being disciplined and sticking to the CDC guidelines and what coach Smart and Mr. Ron (Courson) steadily enforce with wearing our masks and being around others,” Brown said. “He of course knows we’re young and growing up.
“That’s just where the maturity and composure come in to know that you must wash your hands anywhere you go. Know to wear your facemask. Those are just rules we are commonly doing inside the facility.”
Former Georgia Bulldog Benjamin Watson also appeared on CNN to discuss the latest matters with regards to COVID-19 and how it might impact teams and players.
“When it comes to college campuses, there are so many other questions. We don’t even know if students are going to be allowed back in large numbers,” Watson said. “I do think it’s time to push some of the things back until we figure out the best way to proceed.”
Based on the comments made by SEC commissioner Greg Sankey, the SEC at this time does not seem to be impacted by the Big Ten and PAC-12’s decision. The Big 12 is set to meet later on Tuesday to discuss its options for the upcoming season.
“On Sunday it was all over if I read social media and lived by it, but we’re still here,” Sankey said. “We’re going to keep moving along because what has been told to me by young men on our teams, is they want an opportunity, they want a safe and healthy opportunity.”
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