‘You’re talking about 2 tough weeks as far as positives goes’: Coach Gus Malzahn on COVID-19 and getting players back to practice

Auburn Football Scrimmage SOURCE: Auburn Athletics

AUBURN, Ala. (WBRC) - Auburn’s 2020 football season was supposed to kick off Saturday, September 5. That didn’t happen because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but head coach Gus Malzahn said the Tigers’ scrimmage Saturday was “really good.”

The 90 plays marked the 10th practice for the Tigers with 15 more to go before Kentucky comes to the Plains Sept. 26 to start the all–SEC schedule.

“For the second scrimmage in a row, no major injuries which is a true blessing with everything else that’s going on,” he said. “We’ve had a very good week of practice. I liked our attitude, I liked our energy.”

Asked about COVID-19 and some positive tests this month Malzahn said, “We had 16 players that missed this week of practice [with a combination of positive tests and contact traces]. The positive note is we tested Sunday and last Wednesday, we had zero positives. That was a really good sign that I feel like we’re adjusting with our students back on campus. We’ll test again tomorrow and Wednesday, too. We’re hopeful that will stay the same and we can start getting a routine and get our guys out to the practice field, our whole team.”

As far as the positive results last week Malzahn said they were such a relief because “you’re talking about two tough weeks as far as positives goes.” Malzahn said some of the affected players were starters and the positive covid tests meant the guys couldn’t get on the field and practice as a complete unit.

Malzahn said all of the coaches and teammates are accountable to each other, and he feels like the guys will be responsible during the Labor Day weekend.

Auburn head football coach Gus Malzahn on practice and COVID-19 SOURCE: Auburn Athletics

As far as Saturday’s scrimmage coach said highlights included an 80-yard touchdown catch by running back Shaun Shivers, and three turnovers, including interceptions by Jamien Sherwood and Devin Guice.

“Scrimmages are the best way to see where we are,” Malzahn said.

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