Nick Saban has been leading the Alabama Crimson Tide from his home Wednesday afternoon after receiving a positive test result for COVID-19. Questions remain whether he will be able to do the same when the No. 3 Georgia Bulldogs come to Tuscaloosa on Saturday.
During his mid-week press conference being held via video conference, Saban explained that he is still unsure what the rules will be about his participation in the upcoming SEC showdown.
“I’m not sure exactly how this is going to play out in terms of when the game comes whether I can have communication with people or not,” he stated. “So we’ll have to research and sort of figure that one out. But we did have a plan for each coach on the staff as to what might happen.”
Athletics department officials announced earlier on Wednesday that Saban and athletics director Greg Byrne had both tested positive for the virus the same day.
“Early this afternoon, we received notification that Coach Saban and Greg Byrne tested positive for COVID-19. Both immediately left the facility and went to their homes to self-isolate after receiving that information,” said a joint statement from Dr. Jimmy Robinson and Jeff Allen, associate athletics director for sports medicine.
Saban confirmed that offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian would carry on-field head coaching duties while not delegating play calling to anyone else.
Over seven seasons as a head coach at Washington and then USC, Sarkisian compiled a 46-35 record.
Sarkisian currently guides an offense which leads the nation in scoring and stands third in total production.
“He’s done a really good job of that,” Saban said of Sarkisian. “We’re not going to make those kind of changes. We have a very capable staff and those guys make good game day decisions. I just kind of monitor what they do and make sure we’re staying on the rails. I think we can get that done even if I am not available, which is not for certain I hope, but it is what it is.”
Saban will continue to drive game week preparation remotely.
“I can do absolutely everything here that I do,” he stated. “I will have the same exact routine.”
He cited his participation in Wednesday’s practice, via phone and video, which occasionally involved him directing that the team repeat plays in the absence of execution.