ECU’s football team is being forced to make adjustments ahead of Saturday’ game against Navy due to COVID-19. “We are dealing with some issues right now,” head coach Mike Houston […]
ECU’s football team is being forced to make adjustments ahead of Saturday’ game against Navy due to COVID-19.
“We are dealing with some issues right now,” head coach Mike Houston said on Wednesday afternoon. “We’ll continue to work through them as the week goes on. We had another round of testing today, so it’s a situation that’s still very fluid.”
Houston would not address any particular players or position groups that have been impacted this week by the virus. The Pirates were tested on Monday and against Wednesday in compliance with American Athletic Conference guidelines established before the start of the 2020 season. Given the nature of COVID-19 testing and the delay in getting results back, Houston said the program should have a clearer view of available personnel closer to the end of the week.
“I’m excited about the group we have on the field,” Houston said. “We have had to make some adjustments. Those adjustments have been made and are going to continue to be made. The staff is working very hard to ensure we’re prepared for the game this weekend. We won’t have a true picture until the end of the week of what our roster is going to look like.”
A final decision regarding the status of Saturday’s game could be made as late as Friday when medical personnel from the AAC meet with officials from both programs. At that point, a yes or no decision should be reached about whether the game will be played or postponed.
That process occurs on a weekly basis in the era of COVID-19, but will be watched a little more closely this week given ECU’s standing with the virus.
The Pirates did practice on Wednesday and continue preparing for Navy’s triple-option attack ahead of Saturday.
“We’ve had two really good practices, particularly today,” Houston said. “Really pleased with the way our team practiced today, the energy, the effort, just the performance. Really was able to correct some things from yesterday and really have a productive day. Feel very, very good about where we are going into the weekend.”
Three games have already been canceled for Saturday, including a SEC matchup between LSU and Florida. It was also announced on Wednesday that Alabama head coach Nick Saban and Alabama Athletic Director Greg Byrne had tested positive for COVID-19.
“We knew it was going to be an abnormal year,” Houston said. “Everybody understood that, our players understood that and I’m really proud of the way they’ve handled the adversity.”
As things stand right now, ECU is still scheduled to kick-off against Navy on Saturday at noon inside Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium. The stadium will be open for fans at 7% capacity, or roughly 3,500 individuals. The game can be streamed on ESPN+.