This time it’s for real.
Nick Saban will not be coaching this weekend in the Iron Bowl as it was announced via a team release that he had tested positive for COVID-19 with mild symptoms.
Earlier in the year, Saban received a false positive test where he was asymptomatic and was able to take the sufficient tests so he could coach that Saturday against Georgia. But due to the symptoms, the test is not going to be categorized as a false positive.
When thinking about Saban and the precautions he has taken with his team, the question as to how he even contracted the virus arose in his Wednesday teleconference.
As of right now, the head coach has no idea.
“I have no idea. I’m around nobody. I go home, and I go to the office. I have no idea,” Saban said. “Now there are some people in and out of our house on occasion. I have no idea how this happened. I really don’t know. We really practice social tracing, social distancing, all the things that we need to do to be safe. We’re always six feet apart in meetings, whether we have staff meetings in large rooms. Everyone is required and we all wear masks. Payers all wear masks in meetings.”
To go along with the social distancing, Alabama also conducts daily testing throughout its entire team and staff which is how Saban received his positive test.
Another uncertainty that’s brought along from the head coach’s diagnosis is if the team may lose anyone else to the virus through contact tracing.
“They will obviously do contact tracing. But that’s up to the contact tracer as to whether he sees any issues,” Saban said when asked if his test could lead to players being quarantined. “So I can’t really say what the decision will be based on that. But based on how we manage things internally in the building. I can’t see any issues with coaches and players. That’s up to them.”
College football and especially the Southeastern Conference has already seen contact tracing decimate game weeks and schedules. Two weeks ago, the SEC saw four games rescheduled due to contact tracing within programs which included Alabama’s game against LSU.
What happens in the coming hours will be very important to see whether an Iron Bowl is possible this weekend.
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Patrick Dowd is a Reporter for Touchdown Alabama Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter, via Pat_Dowd77