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BREAKING: Alabama OC Bill O’Brien and OL coach Doug Marrone test positive for COVID-19

Bill O'Brien gives instructions at practice
Photo by Crimson Tide Photo

Alabama offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien and offensive line coach Doug Marrone have both tested positive for COVID-19 the team announced on Wednesday.

Head coach Nick Saban and Athletic trainer Jeff Allen released a joint statement announcing the news. Both coaches are expected to recover in time to participate in the Goodyear Cotton Bowl on Dec. 31.

“We received notification that offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien and offensive line coach Doug Marrone tested positive for COVID-19. They have very mild symptoms and are home isolating while following all appropriate guidelines. We anticipate both being able to coach in the College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Goodyear Cotton Bowl.”

Both O’Brien and Marrone are in their first seasons with the Crimson Tide and have aided the offense to a top-five ranking in college football. O’Brien has also helped produce the program’s first-ever Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback in Bryce Young who took home the honor back on Dec. 11.

Saban spoke to the media following Monday’s practice stating that the team has reimplemented all of the COVID safety protocols from last season to ensure the safety of the team ahead of the College Football Playoff. Saban is also still allowing his players to travel home for the holidays while sending the families care packages with everything they need to protect themselves during the break.

“We let our players go home for the break last year, and we educate the families,” Saban said. “We give them a care package with everything they need to stay safe, and we have implemented all the protocols here since we’ve been back that we had last year in terms of wearing masks in meetings, washing hands, social distancing in meetings. And we’re encouraging the players to do that when they leave here. We’re really putting the protocols in place that we used a year ago, which was helpful to us and we’re gonna keep doing that.

“Am I concerned? I’m always concerned when there’s an issue out there, and we wanna do the best we can to help our players be concerned about the issue and respect it so that they have the best opportunity to stay safe. We’ve done a good job vaccinating our players. We’ve also done a good job of giving our players booster shots, which I think we have like over 90 percent of the players have gotten booster shots.

“They’ve really kind of bought into trying to do everything they can to stay safe, but there’s no guarantees, so we wanna use every protocol we can to help them stay safe.”

As of publication, there have been no other reported cases from the team/

Alabama is scheduled to play Cincinnati in the Cotton Bowl on Dec. 31 from AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX, with kickoff set for 2:30 p.m. CT.

This post will be updated.

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Patrick Dowd is a Reporter for Touchdown Alabama Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter, via Pat_Dowd77

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