If there’s one thing you were worried about letting the players go home for the holidays, well, you’re not alone.
Georgia coach Kirby Smart is more concerned about COVID-19 than opt-outs when it comes to player availability for Friday’s Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl matchup against Cincinnati.
The No. 9-ranked Bulldogs (7-2) broke camp for three days to celebrate Christmas before players returned to campus late Saturday to resume preparations for their New Year’s Day Six bowl game against the No. 8-ranked Bearcats (9-0). Between the players being outside the school’s control and recent spikes in outbreaks of the virus across the state, Smart said he was “on pins and needles” awaiting results of the first round of testing.
… “So, we’re trying to avoid doing a lot publicly, and we’re trying to avoid any positive tests that might knock somebody out for this game. The numbers are spiking all across over the country and really right here in Georgia. With things going on, our concerns are with our players that have gone home and come back.”
All we need this week is for JT Daniels to come down with a severe case of contact tracing.
In the meantime, welcome to lockdown, Dawg style.
Meanwhile, with players home for the holidays this past week, UGA could no longer monitor their movements via the SEC’s Kinnexon tracing technology. Players were immediately subjected to PCR tests upon their return Saturday, and they will be tested two more times before Friday’s noon kickoff at Mercedes-Benz Stadium (ESPN).
Smart said the Bulldogs would not travel to Atlanta until the night before the game and won’t be participating in any typical bowl activities.
“Our concern is with our players that have gone home and come back and also with the guys being around each other,” Smart said. “So there’s really not a lot you can do to enjoy the bowl. You can enjoy the fellowship of your teammates and just stay safe so we can finish off this season.”
When Kirby retires from coaching, maybe he can run the CDC. In the meantime, he’s got a game to coach, by damn.