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Auburn football getting healthy ahead of Week 1 matchup with UK

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The Tigers’ COVID outbreaks appear to be getting under control.

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The Kentucky Wildcats are now just one short week away from their opening game of the season vs. the Auburn Tigers.

For months it seemed as if playing college football in 2020 was a pipe dream that would never actually come to fruition. This was especially true after major conferences like the Big Ten initially decided to cancel the season all together.

But the SEC never wavered, instead they put a plan in place and have monitored each University’s protocol to maintain standards that they believed would allow for football this fall.

That being said, to get to this point hasn’t come without challenges and future challenges will be inevitable.

As you’ve probably heard, Auburn, Kentucky’s Week 1 opponent has been dealing with COVID outbreaks within their team. It’s been unclear if the Tigers would be at full strength when they match-up with Kentucky this week.

Now information is surfacing that seems to be pointing in the right direction for the health of the players impacted.

A week ago, two players tested positive for COVID-19 which prompted the necessity to quarantine a total of ten players, of those ten, five were starters. The week prior had even worse numbers. So needless to say there was legitimate concern about Auburn’s depth heading into Week 1.

But things appear to be trending in the right direction.

New information released seems to be pointing in the right direction for the health of the players impacted.

Auburn Head Coach Gus Malzahn told reporters that the Tigers reported zero new cases this week and that the eight remaining players quarantining would be cleared soon with a goal of rejoining the team early next week. 

I for one, am extremely pleased to hear this news.

Obviously the health of these players is the most important thing but I think Kentucky would prefer a shot at the Tigers on the road while they are at full strength.

It’s pretty evident that COVID outbreaks will be a part of the college football landscape this season but it will be a major shame to see it impact the outcomes of games, or possibly even cancel some of them.

Kentucky hasn’t been completely until the clear. Mark Stoops spoke to the media this week about UK’s exposure to the virus and what precautions are being taken in Lexington.

“It is under control, we could play a game if we had to tomorrow.” Stoops said on Monday. “When we’re scrimmaging. We’re doing good with our testing still, but it does affect you in other ways with contract tracing. Sometimes it’s actually longer with contact tracing than actually testing positive. We’re diligent in how we try to space them out. If you start having some positives and you’re not careful in how you set things up, it can certainly affect your team.”

Both teams aren’t in the clear yet as next week calls for additional testing, including a gameday rapid test, in preparation for Week 1.

Biggest takeaway here?

Football is coming.