On Wednesday evening, it was announced that Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban and athletic director Greg Bryne had tested positive for COVID-19.
The reports from Tuscaloosa come less than four days before No. 2 Alabama and No. 3 Georgia square off in one of the most important matchups of the 2020 regular season. Even though this is a bump in the road, Georgia players continue to move forward and focus on themselves rather than on Saban’s current situation.
Georgia redshirt sophomore wide receiver Kearis Jackson was shocked by the news that Saban and Bryne tested positive.
“It’s definitely a wake-up call, whether the news is true or not,” Jackson said. “We have to do the right things by making sure we are wearing our masks and not going to places where people aren’t wearing their masks. We just have to continue doing a great job as a team and as a staff by making sure we continue to wear our masks and social distance out in public.”
Jackson, who’s a leader in the locker room and a member of the SEC Leadership Council, said his teammates are taking the situation seriously.
“Our team has matured a whole lot throughout the season and guys know what we have at stake,” Jackson said. “Guys have been doing the right thing because we know that this season means everything to us. We’re doing everything the right way, wearing our masks, and making sure we are social distancing.”
Georgia’s sophomore running back Kenny McIntosh echoed Jackson’s statement.
“At Georgia, we’re focused on us at Georgia, not what’s going on at Alabama,” McIntosh. “Our players and coaching staff are healthy over here, and that’s all we are concerned about. That’s all we can worry about.”
According to DawgNation’s Mike Griffith, UGA athletic director Greg McGarity said the news definitely came unanticipated.
“This certainly sends a message, everybody better pay attention,” McGarity said. “We hope everyone gets well.”
McGarity said that Georgia will continue to follow guidelines.
“Our protocol here remains in place,” McGarity said. “We test Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. We continue to follow the plans that we’ve worked on and have had in place.”
Jackson said that head coach Kirby Smart didn’t inform the team and had yet to speak to on the circumstances surrounding this weekend’s matchup.
“I don’t have any concerns with Coach Saban testing positive,” Jackson said. “I’m more worried about us as a team, and how we’re going to prepare to go play a huge game.”
Saban spoke with the media on Wednesday night and said that no Crimson Tide players had tested positive yet.
“At this point, I’m asymptomatic and feel fine,” said Saban. “Our medical officials have told me that, as long as I remain asymptomatic, I’ll have a daily PCR testing, per SEC protocol, to confirm the initial positive.”