Nick Saban Tested Positive for Coronavirus. Will He Coach Against Georgia?

Probably not. But let’s look at the rules and what college football’s most famous coach said.


By Alan Blinder

Nick Saban, the feared and renowned football coach at Alabama, said he tested positive for coronavirus on Wednesday.

But there is a game on Saturday. A very big game, in fact: No 3. Georgia at No. 2 Alabama, a matchup that could help shape the College Football Playoff.

Yet Saban, frequently shown on television as a scowling sideline taskmaster, might have to watch from home.

How sick is he?

Alabama said from the moment it announced Saban’s positive test on Wednesday that the 68-year-old coach was asymptomatic. Saban spoke to reporters on a Zoom call a few hours after he received the test result, and he made his regular star turn on a radio show Thursday night.

“I don’t have any symptoms. I don’t have a fever,” Saban said Thursday. “They do all those oxygen tests and all that stuff, and everything’s normal.”

Contrary to some internet speculation, there is no evidence that Alabama’s announcement was a ruse to play mind games with Georgia.

So, can Saban do anything right now?

He coached practice via Zoom after he tested positive and headed home, watching with a camera angle that allowed him to see all 22 players.

“You see a lot more because you’re seeing the big picture rather than specific things,” Saban, who normally works at the front side of the defense, said Thursday night. “So it was a little interesting. I guess that’s why Coach Bryant always stood up in that tower.”

Bear Bryant won six national championships during his 25 years at Alabama. Saban, now in his 14th season in Tuscaloosa, has won five. Alabama’s campus already features bronze statues of both men.

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