Nick Saban Expects to Be on Sideline for Alabama vs. LSU After COVID-19 Absence

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistNovember 30, 2020

A masked Alabama coach Nick Saban speaks with defensive back Josh Jobe (28) during the second half of the team's NCAA college football game against Mississippi in Oxford, Miss., Saturday, Oct. 10, 2020. Alabama won 63-48. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
Rogelio V. Solis/Associated Press

Alabama head coach Nick Saban told reporters Monday he's hoping to be on the sidelines for the team's Saturday matchup against LSU after missing the Iron Bowl against Auburn this weekend following his positive test for COVID-19.

"I'm feeling fine, so you don't need to worry about me," he said. "Just to make it clear, I'll be evaluated by the medical staff later in the week, and they'll make a determination as to when I can come back. But I don't anticipate any problems in being able to coach the game this week."

The Crimson Tide did just fine without their head coach on Saturday, blowing out Auburn 42-13. That didn't make it any easier for Saban to be sidelined:

"Not being there for the game, the Iron Bowl is such a great competitive venue, it means so much to so many people—man, it was really hard, especially the fact that I feel great. But I did what I could do to help prepare the team throughout the week, was involved in everything that we could do right up till 90 minutes before the game, then we just had to sit and watch from afar. But I think the training and the discipline that you develop in people carries over whether you're there with them or not."

A number of coaches around college football have tested positive for COVID-19, including Miami's Manny Diaz and Florida's Dan Mullen. ESPN's Alex Scarborough reported on Nov. 25 that 18 FBS head coaches in total have tested positive for the coronavirus in the 2020 season. 

And even more programs have had to postpone or outright cancel games due to coronavirus outbreaks. 

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The COVID-19 pandemic has unquestionably been the central storyline of the 2020 season, calling many to question whether it has been responsible to have unpaid athletes playing in the first place, given the health risks. Regardless, the games go on. 

And so No. 1 Alabama will continue its national championship quest against LSU in Baton Rouge on Saturday, Dec. 5 at 8 p.m. ET (CBS).