BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Several players on the LSU football team, including starters, have tested positive for COVID-19 and a “high number” are currently quarantining, Head Coach Ed Orgeron announced during a news conference Monday, Nov. 9.
“I can tell you that we do have players that have COVID, and we do have some players that are quarantined. I can’t tell you the numbers. I’m going to let the doctors take care of all of that. We’re focused on playing Alabama Saturday night. It will be a great challenge for us,” Orgeron said.
Weekly player interviews scheduled for Tuesday were postponed.
LSU is currently scheduled to host No. 1 Alabama at 5 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 14 in Tiger Stadium.
Orgeron says he learned about players contracting COVID-19 on either Tuesday, Nov. 3, or Wednesday, Nov. 4.
“We’re worried about the guys that are sick and their safety. There’s no question. But the numbers are high with the quarantine. And that’s where you get into some low numbers. You put the COVID plus the quarantine,” Orgeron said.
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When asked by a reporter if the situation with COVID-19 positive players was dire enough to consider applying for a postponement of the game Orgeron said he would leave that decision up to team doctors and LSU Athletic Director Scott Woodard.
“Right now we’re planning on playing Alabama,” he said.
Orgeron says he has developed a game plan for Saturday’s game to cope with the loss of players due to COVID-19. He also said he would know by Wednesday, Nov. 11 if the game would be postponed or go on as previously scheduled.
“When they tell me we’re at a certain number or something like that, we can play or we can’t play, I think that’s up to the league [Southeastern Conference] and Scott,” Orgeron said.
A game between LSU’s two SEC West rivals, Auburn and Mississippi State, scheduled for Saturday has been postponed due to several COVID-19 cases within the Mississippi State football program, Southeastern Conference officials announced Monday.
LSU’s Oct. 14 match-up with Florida was postponed due to an outbreak in the Florida football program.
Because of the number of players with coronavirus, the buzz around LSU’s campus has been about whether or not the game will even happen Saturday.
“I know Coach O said there’s a lot of corona cases coming up on the team, but I just want to go to the game, because we got last minute tickets, so it’s kind of a plus. So if it gets canceled, that would kind of suck,” said Brett Hidalgo, an LSU student.
“Not cancel it, but hold it off. You know, give them a chance, let them practice a little bit more, you know, yeah, because they [LSU football players] need more practice,” said Racquel Bradley, another LSU student.
A lot of LSU students tell WAFB they hope the game still happens, but with 2020 the way it is, they would not be surprised if it was canceled.
“If they don’t play, that’s not just another bump in the road, that’s a huge pothole, because if they don’t play, they need that experience, they need to get the freshmen on that team the experience of playing in that game,” said Amrys Magee, an LSU student.
“I don’t even think they should reschedule them at this point, because we already know our record, like we’re not going to prove anything else at this point, so just get them [Bama] over with,” said Cade Guillory, another LSU student.
Over at the relatively new Motza’s Pizza Pub, which used to be the Mellow Mushroom, on Burbank Drive, not having the game on their TV screens would hurt business this season even more.
“I’ve lost plenty of revenue, plenty of profits, because we’ve had what, two home games now, and it’s been seven weeks into the season,” said Adam Bellocq, general manager of Motza’s Pizza Pub.
Bellocq says with all the coronavirus restrictions in place since they opened in the spring, and not having customers coming into the place to watch the LSU games, it’s a lose-lose situation.
“Honestly, just hoping that soon, COVID will go away and we will go back to normal, but speaking for LSU Athletics in general, yes, especially if we lose another baseball season, that’s going to hurt us tremendously,” said Bellocq.
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