After spending a few days riding the high of a 10-3 season opening win over third-ranked Clemson, the Georgia football team is quickly crashing down to Earth. Despite having more than 90% of the team vaccinated, the Bulldogs have been hit with a wave of positive COVID tests from players to staff. Saturday’s home opener now appears likely to feature a less than full Georgia team.
The spike in cases is a major concern for head coach Kirby Smart.
Fresh off its victory against Clemson, Georgia finds itself dealing with its highest COVID-19 spike.
"I'll be honest with you guys, I'm as concerned as I've ever been," coach Kirby Smart said.
— USA TODAY Sports (@usatodaysports) September 6, 2021
“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 told reporters.
“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.”
Having a handful of players and the team’s sports medicine director (Ron Courson) confirmed as positives, means the Bulldogs will likely be at less than full strength for this weekend’s home tilt with UAB. The Bulldogs and Blazers are scheduled to square off inside of Sanford Stadium, which seats more than 92,500 fans and will not be requiring proof of vaccinations or negative tests in order to attend.
“This is the highest (number of positive cases) we’ve been since fall camp right now,” added Smart. “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.”
FanDuel Sportsbook doesn’t see the uptick in positive cases as an on-field concern for the Bulldogs. They’re currently slated as a 24.5 point home favorites.