Alabama coach Nick Saban on Thursday said that he was “feeling great” after testing positive for the coronavirus on Wednesday.
Saban, speaking remotely on his weekly night radio show, said he remains asymptomatic as he helps the Crimson Tide prepare to play Georgia on Saturday. He made no mention of further testing beyond his Wednesday diagnosis.
”I’m missing everybody,” Saban said on the show. “I still don’t have any symptoms. I don’t have a fever. The oxygen tests they do didn’t show any problems.”
That’s good news for the Crimson Tide as they aim for Saban’s sixth championship at Alabama. The immediate question remains, however, as to whether he will be able to coach No. 2 Alabama against No. 3 Georgia. If he cannot be on the field because of quarantine, NCAA Rule 1-4-11 — which addresses prohibited field equipment — would keep him from communicating with his team from 90 minutes prior to kickoff through the end of the game.
However, the SEC’s COVID-19 protocols would allow Saban to coach on the sidelines if he produced three consecutive negative tests for the coronavirus. Per a Thursday release from Alabama team doctor Jeff Allen, Saban “remains asymptomatic … and is doing fine” while continuing to undergo SEC testing protocol and daily evaluations.
Saban has not outright said he won’t coach Saturday’s game, keeping the door open — however slight — that he still could.
“I would hate not to be at the game Saturday if that’s what this turns out to be,” Saban said on his show.
If he can’t take the field for Saturday’s game, however, Alabama will turn to offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian to call the game against Kirby Smart’s Georgia team. Sarkisian, whom Saban described as “philosophically very close” to himself, has six-plus years of head coaching experience, going 46-35 at Washington and USC.
“Our contingency plan is Sark,” Saban said. “He has been a head coach and has been in those situations.”
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