Auburn football began fall camp with little to no hiccups in terms of players testing positive for COVID-19, recording zero positives on the whole team over the first two weeks.
Auburn did not play in its scrimmage on Saturday, and the Tigers did not practice on Wednesday and Thursday, like they were previously scheduled to.
On Sunday, head coach Gus Malzahn announced that nine total players tested positive, causing the Tigers to miss practice on Wednesday and Thursday. The scrimmage on Saturday was canceled following the shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin, as the Tigers took a stand against racial and social injustice, according to Malzahn.
“We had a pretty challenging week last week,” Malzahn said Sunday.
Malzahn announced that the team would return to practice Tuesday, with 16 players unable to practice this week. Nine players have tested positive, but the remaining players will be out because of contact tracing. Malzahn said there was no one specific event that caused the jump in cases.
Malzahn also announced that two unnamed position groups have been affected by the positive cases.
The Tigers will practice on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday this week, with an off-day for testing on Thursday and a scrimmage on Saturday.
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The goal for practice this week?
"To practice," Malzahn said.
For the players that tested positive, it's a 17-day process before they can return to practice.
"The ones who tested positive are out for 10 days and then we have a seven day back-to-play process to make sure that they're healthy enough to get back to practice," Malzahn said.
The players that came in "close contact" with a positive case will be forced to quarantine for 14 days.
While Malzahn says the team has had very few with "major symptoms," each case is being treated seriously.
"The bottom line is the health and safety of our players," Malzahn said.
The Tigers will have some ground to make up with a little under a month until the season opener on Sept. 26 against Kentucky.
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