Some people actually enjoy slow news days. This is not the day for those people.
The big news in the SEC is uniformly COVID-related. To review:
LSU and Florida are not playing this weekend. Kudos to the two schools who once got in a slap fight over moving a game because of an impending major hurricane for (with guidance from the SEC office) reaching a speedy decision. For those wondering, yes, Florida has a bye week before plying Georgia the first week in November. LSU, however, does not. So don’t expect that one to be moved to Halloween weekend.
As DawgOutWest noted last night Alabama coach Nick Saban and Athletic Director Greg Byrne have both tested positive for coronavirus. Saban apparently left the Alabama football facility Wednesday afternoon after getting his test results. His mood appears, at least according to his daughter Kristen, appropriately without time for your crap.
No symptoms. He’s literally coaching practice from a Zoom call (I had permission to say this)— Kristen Saban Setas (@KristenSabanS) October 14, 2020
Will Georgia and Alabama play in Tuscaloosa on Saturday? No one knows for sure just yet. The answer likely depends less on developments in Athens and more on player testing in Tuscaloosa. Connor Riley at DawgNation has a nice explainer on where things stand in that regard.
But what we can be fairly certain of is that Nick Saban has been in close contact with at least some of his players and may have even scooped and scored the virus from one of them. If outbreaks at other schools and inside pro sports locker rooms are any indication, it is unlikely that Saban and Byrne picked up the virus outside the Alabama athletic offices and managed to keep from spreading it to anyone else despite spending a majority of their waking hours on Monday and Tuesday in the office.
It sounds like the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party will stick with its limited attendance of 9,000 fans per school despite the state of Florida relaxing attendance restrictions. It also sounds from that article like we got the head coach who understands how to talk in public without sounding like a doofus and being reprimanded by his athletic director.
With everything else going on in the world, Greg McGarity must really be thankful that he doesn’t have to answer questions about stuff Kirby Smart said.
In non-virus news, the Senator wonders with tongue in cheek if Kirby Smart’s aversion to up-tempo offense may be traced back to him being a neat freak.
In all seriousness, teams playing at lightning speed aren’t new in college football. Bob Stitt, Gus Malzahn, Dana Holgerson, really just about every coach in college football with more than a drop of the Air Raid in his system wants to run 80 plays a game. But doing so can lead to mistakes and the thing Kirby may fear more than anything else (save nuclear war and overly aggressive pigeons): three and outs.
That being said, it’s worth noting that while much has been made of Alabama’s metamorphosis into a spread offense operating at a point-a-minute pace, Georgia is actually averaging 79.7 offensive snaps per game this season to the Tide’s 64.7. Those numbers aren’t adjusted for time of possession, and in fact Alabama has pulled a play from the old Steve Spurrier playbook, trailing in time of possession each of the past two weeks despite winning by double digits because they didn’t need a lot of time to score.
So while Alabama may have gotten its offensive machine humming, Kirby Smart appears to have at least thrown at least some of his caution to the wind and allowed Todd Monken to maybe leave a dish in the sink here and there. I’m so proud. Until later....