Smart: Georgia football at highest COVID spike

  • Senior college football writer
  • Author of seven books on college football
  • Graduate of the University of Georgia

With Georgia set to host its first home game against UAB at Sanford Stadium on Saturday, coach Kirby Smart said three or four of his players are sidelined with COVID-19.

Smart declined to identify the players during a teleconference with reporters on Monday. It is unknown whether they will be available to play against the Blazers on Saturday (3:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2).

“I’ll be honest with you, I’m as concerned as I’ve ever been, because we have three or four guys out with COVID and we have a couple staff members that have been out with COVID here recently,” Smart said. “For us, we’re at our highest spike. And people are talking about vaccinations, well these are people that are vaccinated. We’re talking about breakthroughs, and so that concerns you not only for the players on your team that are unvaccinated, that are playing and not playing, because we want everybody to be safe. But it concerns me for the players that are vaccinated that we could lose them.”

Last week, Georgia’s sports medicine director, Ron Courson, was diagnosed with COVID-19. He didn’t travel with the team to Saturday’s 10-3 victory over No. 3 Clemson.

“Ron’s doing good, he’s had a tough run,” Smart said. “Ron’s the hardest worker I’ve ever met in my life, and he’s never not been at this building on any day. Never not been here two days in a row, including spring break and off time, and it’s killing him, I think, to not be here. His health seems good and, hopefully, he’ll be back.”

Smart said, last month, that more than 90% of Georgia’s players, coaches and other staff members had been vaccinated for COVID-19.

Georgia is not requiring fans to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test to attend games at Sanford Stadium this season. Capacity is 92,746.

“This is the highest we’ve been since fall camp right now,” Smart said. “I think there’s this relief that you guys feel like everything’s back to normal, well it’s really just not for us right now.”

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