Gators notebook: Pittman will not be coaching against Gators
Arkansas coach Sam Pittman has tested positive for COVID-19 for a second time this week and will not be making the trip to Gainesville for Saturday night’s game against Florida.
Pittman tested positive following a Sunday test. On Tuesday, it was revealed that a second test given Monday also came back positive, meaning he will be in self-isolation for 10 days and won’t be returning to work until next Thursday.
Defensive coordinator and former Missouri head coach Barry Odom has taken over the head coaching duties in Pittman’s absence.
Pittman, who is asymptomatic, said Monday he was hopeful he would have three consecutive negative tests this week that would allow him to coach the Razorbacks on Saturday night. But that’s not going to happen.
“As far as the voice of the team and those things, that’ll be Coach Odom,” Pittman said Monday. “Certainly if I’m not able to go to Florida on Saturday, he’ll act as the head coach and he’ll do a damn fine job I’m sure.”
No new positives
The Gators remain perfect in November in terms of COVID-19. They’ve had zero positive tests this month.
In the latest figures released by the school Tuesday, the Gators have gone a second consecutive week with no positive tests. For the month, 202 tests have been administered.
Since the return to campus in late May, the Gators have had 68 total positive tests.
Braun has an impact
True freshman offensive lineman Josh Bruan saw his first significant playing time last Saturday against Georgia, coming off the bench and replacing injured senior guard Stewart Reese. Braun played 42 plays and more than held his own against one of the SEC’s best defensive lines.
“It was huge,” UF coach Dan Mullen said. “He’s a very intelligent guy, came in with a great work ethic and has taken advantage of the opportunity of being out there on the field in practice. When his number was called, he was ready to go step in the game and play.”
Braun, a four-star recruit from Suwannee, was originally a Georgia commitment but flipped to the Gators. He stepped right in Saturday, showing no signs of nervousness.
“When somebody goes down, the next man up usually does a pretty good job,” quarterback Kyle Trask said. “I think that’s because of the amount of reps we give everybody in practice. I told Josh Braun the same thing I told everyone else: ‘Just take it one play at a time. You’ve got this, and you’re out here for a reason.’ And he did a great job.”
Braun wasn’t the only young lineman pressed into duty Saturday. Redshirt freshman Michael Tarquin went in at right tackle when senior starter Jean Delance got banged up. Like Bruan, he held his own.
“I think it’s really big for those two guys, especially being younger guys and going into a game like that and also good for them at a high level,” senior center Brett Heggie said. “It just shows that they were prepared and ready. So I’m happy for those guys.
“Everyone takes practice every day seriously. We all watch film together, so I knew those guys were going to be prepared if something were to happen. I trusted them when they were in the game for sure.”
Tight end Kyle Pitts (concussion) isn’t the only injured Florida starter whose status for Saturday’s game is uncertain.
Defensive end/outside linebacker Jeremiah Moon is doubtful with an injured foot and offensive guard Stewart Reese is questionable with a shoulder injury he sustained in the second half in the win over Georgia.
“Stew and Kyle will be questionable, and I think Moon will be doubtful,” Mullen said.