With Nick Saban testing positive for COVID, Steve Sarkisian will fill in, overseeing all aspects of the Alabama football team.
After getting a positive result from a COVID test, Alabama football head coach worked from his home Wednesday. Notice in the statement below, the term used is Saban will self-isolate. It is not known if that represents a distinction from a formal quarantine. He is awaiting the results of a follow-up test. University of Alabama Athletic Director, Greg Byrne has also tested positive and is self-isolating as well.
Turning over some of Saban’s organizational duties to Steve Sarkisian is a logical decision. Sarkisian is not the only former head coach working for the Crimson Tide. Butch Jones, Charlie Strong and Mike Stoops have head coaching experience. But Sark is the senior guy with the most responsibility on Saban’s staff.
Sarkisian has done tremendous work as Offensive Coordinator for the last two seasons. He has six-plus seasons as an FBS head coach at Washington and Southern Cal. His head coaching record is 46-35, with his most successful season coming from nine wins at Southern Cal in 2014.
The biggest concern of Alabama football fans is the health of Saban and Byrne. Next comes the unknown of how many players and staff, having been around the pair, will also test positive soon.
Though nothing is yet known, it is hard to envision no players testing positive. A new positive test for a player would mean being quarantined past the Georgia game. A large number of players quarantined could mean postponing Saturday’s game.
Assuming, the player impact is minimal, Steve Sarkisian will likely be more than an overseer on Saturday. Interim Head Coach would be the probable job duty. Sark can be a one-game head coach for the Crimson Tide, but he may not be able to do it and also be the offensive play-caller. With that job being so pivotal, Saban could designate another staff member to handle head coach duties on Saturday.
There is no way of overstating the potential impact on a pivotal football game. However, the health of Nick Saban and others is more important. Far more important.
A few months ago in a hypothetical vein, we considered what would happen if Saban tested positive. We likened Nick coaching from a controlled area at Bryant-Denny similar to what Hugh Freeze did using a hospital bed. Our comments seem frivolous now, but Saban must be thinking about, if necessary, doing some coaching from home on Saturday.
For those wondering the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines stipulate a 10-day quarantine for anyone who tests positive for COVID.