FILE - In this Aug. 31, 2020, file photo, Alabama head football coach Nick Saban leads his team as they march on campus, supporting the Black Lives Matter movement, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. The mid-week news that Alabama coach Nick Saban tested positive for COVID-19 added a challenging backdrop for the season’s first Top 5 matchup. Saban figures to be communicating his marching orders and input from home while offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian is manning the show within the football building. (AP Photo/Vasha Hunt, File)

Alabama head coach Nick Saban battles COVID-19 ahead of key matchup

The University of Alabama head football coach Nick Saban tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday.

Saban, after learning of his positive test, promptly left team facilities to self-isolate at home. He has shown no symptoms and remains optimistic after his positive test.

Saban and athletic director Greg Byrne are the lone positive cases from Alabama’s program. At this time, Saban’s status is pending for Saturday’s game, which will continue as scheduled. No. 2 Alabama hosts No. 3 Georgia in a key SEC matchup.

If Saban is sidelined, offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian will call plays for the matchup. For now, Saban continues to coach the team via Zoom, performing many of his typical duties.

Saban, 68, is the seventh and oldest FBS coach to test positive for COVID-19.

What we Know

  • For now, the game will continue as planned. No Alabama or Georgia players have tested positive. Furthermore, SEC commissioner Greg Sankey remains hopeful that the game will continue after a “messy week” in the SEC.
  • Saban and Byrne tested positive for COVID-19 Wednesday afternoon. After that, the two left team facilities to self-isolate at home. Since then, no players have tested positive; the players will be retested Thursday, with the results deciding the status of the game.
  • It is unknown how Saban contracted COVID-19. The coach said that he always wore a mask while with the team. Above all, he continues to show no symptoms, doing practices and meetings via Zoom.

What’s to Come?

  • It is still unknown whether Saban can play a part in Saturday’s game. If not, offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian will step in as play caller. In addition, Saban hopes to coach in some virtual capacity.
  • If the game is postponed due to more positive tests, the likely make-up date would be Dec. 12. The Gators recently postponed their game against LSU this Saturday due to COVID-19, moving the game to Dec. 12 too.
  • The Georgia Bulldogs will test players and coaches Thursday before leaving for Tuscaloosa on Friday. The Bulldogs aim to stay perfect with a big SEC win on Saturday.

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