Saban competed remotely in the Alabama practice on Wednesday after returning to his home in Tuscaloosa. The coach was able to give instructions over the phone and he had access to a video feed that allowed him to observe the training. Alabama Offensive Coordinator Steve Sarkissian is the man presumed responsible while Saban is away from the team.
“The autonomy part, we haven’t really decided yet,” Saban said when asked how much control Sarkissian would have during the team’s scheduled Saturday match against Georgia No.3. “But given that no ‘any coach can test positive, we try to have a protocol in place if we lose a coach, especially a coach in a leadership position, who intervenes for them. Obviously, Sark has been the head coach before, and I’m not sure exactly how it’s going to play out in terms of when the game is coming, whether I can communicate with people or not. We’ll have to research and sort of figure out that one. But we had a plan for each staff coach as to what might happen. We just have to go from there. Just like if we lose a player, we have to do the same. ”
However, it turns out that a NCAA Rule will prevent Saban from having any contact with the coaching staff during the match if the coach is to remain in quarantine at home. Saban would be prohibited from communicating with the team or coaches from 90 minutes before kick-off until the end of the match. This means no half-time speeches or adjustments to Saban would qualify under the rule either.
A similar scenario unfolded earlier this season for the Florida State freshman head coach Mike Norvell, who tested positive for coronavirus and missed his team’s game against Miami. Norvell was involved in preparing his home during the week but was unable to have contact with his Seminoles staff in the 90 minutes leading up to the game and during the bout.
“I haven’t seen anything different in training,” Saban said after his absence from the field on Wednesday. “I got to see a lot more because when you look at it at a wide angle you see a lot more than when you’re just standing on the pitch. But I thought the intensity was good, the concentration was good, the players were trying. So I didn’t see anything different. I can tell you we’ve had much worse workouts when I’m there so maybe it was a good thing I wasn’t there. ”
Saban is hoping this can continue if he is unable to compete at Bryant-Denny Stadium on Saturday.