As of right now, Arkansas’ game with Ole Miss on Saturday is still a go, but it has changed television networks and fans will be holding their breath.
Ole Miss coach Lane Kiffin confirmed an outbreak of Covid-19 on the team during the SEC Teleconference on Wednesday but wasn’t making any numbers available.
“We could play today, so we’ll see,” Kiffin said. “We are not in a great situation, numbers-wise, at all.”
Exactly who the players in question are is not known and there’s no point in guessing at any hidden meanings behind his comments.
My old buddy David Johnson at the Ole Miss Spirit (himself a Covid-19 survivor after 44 days in the hospital, 21 on a ventilator) reported what they had found out:
The Ole Miss Spirit has learned through sources that none of the positive COVID-19 tests, thus far, have been among offensive starters. One area that has been affected, per those sources, is the defensive front.
In addition, due to other postponements of SEC games, the Hogs-Rebels game at 2:30 Saturday will air on the SEC Network instead of ESPN2.
Kiffin said he didn’t think the players contracted the virus from within the team and had an idea where it came from.
“I think so. I mean I know who it did. I don’t think it was actually anything while they were here,” he said Monday morning. “I said Sunday or Monday … our first meeting … that it just got real. Anytime you talk about things, it doesn’t hit home until it happens to you.
“Now they’re seeing it and seeing depth charts move. People have to change positions and different things. I hope it really was another reminder. It only takes one person to really screw it up.”
The SEC requires three tests per week from its member programs. Those tests are conducted on Sunday, Wednesday and Friday, meaning the Rebels’ COVID-19 numbers and close contact traces could certainly grow by the weekend.
Like Arkansas coach Sam Pittman said earlier in the week, the Rebels weren’t in the greatest physical shape coming out of a 63-48 loss to Alabama last weekend.
“We’re beat up, too, from a very intense game versus a great team Saturday (Alabama),” Kiffin said.