Can Nick Saban still coach Alabama football with COVID-19?
Before I even preview this topic, I want to say that the overwhelming top priority right now is for Nick Saban to rest and stay healthy. This is being written strictly because Nick Saban is currently asymptomatic, but he still has COVID-19. If Coach Saban shows any symptoms or feels bad whatsoever, he should not coach Alabama football and should rest instead. However, what if he remains perfectly healthy?
Guidelines dictate that Nick Saban must remain isolated from all people as he recovers from COVID-19, but is there still a way for him to safely coach? Let’s break down some of the options.
This idea has been tossed around by fans if Nick Saban remains completely healthy. Could he possibly have his own skybox at Bryant-Denny Stadium this Saturday? In that skybox, he could see everything and still talk to his team through the phone.
College football fans will certainly remember when Hugh Freeze coached from a hospital bed in the skybox last season. However, that was not due to a contagious disease that has caused a global pandemic.
The logistics of this would be an absolute nightmare. They would have to find a way to get Nick Saban into this room without him coming into contact with anyone or touching anything shared. He would practically have to wear a HAZMAT suit just to make it to Bryant-Denny Stadium safely.
Coaching on Zoom
I mean, what would 2020 be without another Zoom call? Nick Saban could give his halftime speech virtually through Zoom. If Alabama wants to do this, they would have to get a projector and sound system ready before the game is played. This might already be in place, but that is yet to be seen.
Coaching virtually would be hard during the game itself. Alabama football would have to rely on special camera angles to trust that Saban was seeing everything he needed to see. He would then have to call in to coaches and players, and there might be a delay. It’s also uncertain as to if this would even be allowed with SEC guidelines.
A virtual robot
For a pop-culture comparison, think of Sheldon Cooper from The Big Bang Theory. He created a robot that would travel everywhere for him so he could remain safely in his bedroom. This is somewhat of a joke, but perhaps there can be some sort of way for Nick Saban to experience the game outside of Zoom. It might sound ridiculous, and it probably is. That being said, Alabama football will do whatever it takes to have an advantage.
Again, the most important thing right now is for Nick Saban to remain healthy. His health and safety mean more than any football game ever will. Until we find out details about if Nick Saban can find a way to coach virtually, all we can do is hope for a speedy recovery. All he can do is prepare for the Georgia game virtually.