Alabama Football arrived in Dallas late Sunday morning. Practice sessions begin as the Crimson Tide works toward its New Years, CFB Playoff semi-final game against the Cincinnati Bearcats.
Alabama football coach Nick Saban had some good news. After allowing players to travel home for Christmas, follow-up testing on their return did not have any players test positive. As a result, no Crimson Tide players were left in quarantine in Tuscaloosa. Last week Saban said more than 90 percent of the players have received two vaccine shots, plus a booster.
Still in quarantine and recovering from COVID are Offensive Coordinator, Bill O’Brien and offensive line, assistant coach, Doug Marrone. Speaking about the two coaches, Saban said, they will continue to coach “virtually” but will later join the team in Dallas for the Cotton Bowl.
Filling in as an onfield coach is Joe Pendry. Pendry will certainly be working with the Tide’s offensive line and may have a broader role until O’Brien’s return. Pulling the highly respected and long experienced Pendry in, from the Tide bench, is a luxury few teams could match.
COVID protocols have impacted four bowl games, with three of the games being canceled. Last year 18 bowls were canceled. The currently in-place COVID protocols are stringent. Even people who don’t doubt current COVID risks can view the process of testing asymptomatic players as unnecessarily excessive.
Commenting on the mandated protocols, Dennis Dodd gave a simple clarification.
"If one CFP team can play, it is national champion. That’s basically what we’re down to."
Alabama Football COVID Procedures
The ever-zealous Nick Saban will do everything possible to make sure the Crimson Tide is not a team having to forfeit a game. Addressing the media on Sunday, Saban said,
"I mean, we implemented the masks, the social distancing in meetings with players way back when we started. So we’re already doing all the protocols that we feel we possibly can. Our team’s all been vaccinated, 92% of our players have also had boosters. But we have encouraged them to use the same practices that we had to use a year ago – whether it’s wearing a mask in meetings, wearing a mask when you’re not in the building, social distancing when we’re in meetings. So if there were some new protocols that would help us be safer, we would certainly implement them, but I think we tried to implement all that we know that has worked in the past."
As much as is possible, it is back to work for the Crimson Tide as it prepares for Cincinnati.
Check-in with Bama Hammer frequently as we discuss every facet of the upcoming Alabama Football semi-final game.