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Gators notebook: UF has zero positive tests for COVID over the last week

Robbie Andreu
Gator Sports
Florida defensive players celebrate a fumble recovery by Brenton Cox Jr. (1) during Saturday's game against Missouri at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.

  Finally, two weeks removed from a COVID-19 outbreak, some positive news for the Florida Gators. Positive, in this case, being a good thing.

  Over the past week, the Gators have had zero positive tests for the virus, meaning UF could be a lot closer to full strength for Saturday’s game against arch-rival Georgia.

 It’s the first time since September that the school has announced zero positive tests.

 The Gators had six positives the week before the Missouri game, and multiple players were unavailable for the game, including three starters in the secondary.

 UF has had 68 positive tests since the return to campus on May 26 — and zero so far in November.

New road protocols

 The origin of UF’s COVID outback has been traced back to the road trip the Gators made to Texas A&M for their Oct. 10 game against the Aggies. For the first time since then, the Gators are going back on the road, even though this trip will be a little different, with UF having only to bus 75-80 miles over to Jacksonville.

 After what happened on that A&M trip, changes have been made in the travel protocol.

 For starters, the Gators are going in five busses instead of the usual three so they can better social distance.

 “One of the things you have with this game is we tweaked things last week with our travel routine,” UF coach Dan Mullen said. “We’re going to try to continue those.

 “We want to spend special attention to who’s on what bus going up there. I can’t map out the Sawgrass Marriott (team hotel), but I know it very well. The space we have there, we’re able to space out for meals, for walkthroughs, for team meetings. We’ll have a little more space.

 “Also, the locker room, you’re going to have a normal size locker room, not a little closet like you have on some of the road games. All those things kind of ease some of the pressure of dealing with our travel issues and our travel plans.”

 Mullen said from now on with road games, there will be assigned seats for everybody on the plane and bus rides, and for team meals.

Mullen moves on

 The brawl at the end of the first half against Missouri — and the $25,000 fine and reprimand from the SEC it led to for Mullen — is now already apparently old news as far as he is concerned.

 When asked Tuesday if he had any regrets about his actions, Mullen said, “We made our statement about that (Monday). We’re on to Georgia, to be honest with you.”

Best wishes for LeCounte

 Defensive coordinator Todd Grantham paused a Zoom conference call with the media to send good wishes to All-American Georgia safety Richard LeCounte, who was injured in an accident involving a dirt bike last weekend and will be out for several weeks.

 “The first thing I’d like to do is offer my thoughts and prayers to Richard LeCounte, the safety,” Grantham said. “In his situation, I certainly want to wish him a speedy recovery. Being a defensive coach, you watch teams in the offseason and you watch crossover games being in the SEC, and you kind of  notice certain guys. And he’s a guy that you certainly notice when you watch tape.

 “He plays the game the right way and he’s certainly an excellent player. You hate to see that happen to anyone. We want to wish him a speedy recovery and we look forward to watching him play soon and getting back to being able to be in the National Football League. I’m really appreciative of the way he plays.”