Kentucky football game versus Vanderbilt still on track despite COVID-19 issues

Jon Hale
Louisville Courier Journal
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LEXINGTON — The Southeastern Conference's Saturday football schedule has been decimated by COVID-19 postponements, but for now Kentucky's game against Vanderbilt remains on track to be played.

"We’re dealing with issues, but we are certainly in a position to play the game," UK coach Mark Stoops said Wednesday on the SEC coaches teleconference. "We will play barring anything drastic."

Stoops cautioned that there was a delay in returning results from some of Kentucky's Tuesday coronavirus tests and that the team will be tested again Thursday, so the situation could still change.

The SEC has already postponed four games originally scheduled for Saturday (Georgia at Missouri, Alabama at LSU, Texas A&M at Tennessee and Auburn at Mississippi State) because of outbreaks at Missouri, LSU, Texas A&M and Mississippi State. Kentucky's game versus Vanderbilt is one of just three remaining SEC games slated for Saturday.

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The league's revised 2020 schedule was built with an open week on Dec. 12 for postponed games to be made up before the SEC Championship game, but several of the affected schools have already had a previous game pushed back to that week. 

Teams that do not qualify for the league's title game could play additional makeups on Dec. 19. Since Vanderbilt already had one game postponed to Dec. 12, a postponement this week would mean the Wildcats and Commodores would have to play that day.

Stoops has not revealed specifics about how many players and coaches have tested positive or been quarantined due to contact tracing, but he did announce Monday that three offensive assistant coaches were not available for practice. It is not clear if that number includes offensive line coach John Schlarman, who stepped away from the team last month as side effects from his cancer treatments have mounted.

Offensive coordinator Eddie Gran was missing from his normal post-practice Zoom news conference on Tuesday. Quarterbacks coach and co-offensive coordinator Darin Hinshaw filled in for Gran, but deferred comment on the reason for Gran's absence to Stoops.

On Wednesday, Stoops said he anticipates Gran being back in time to call plays for the Vanderbilt game but said he does have a contingency plan in place if Gran is not available.

"We constantly, and all the coaches, continue to preach to our players about being diligent and taking as many precautions as they can," Stoops said. "I’m quite sure our players are not perfect, but to this point I am proud of the fact that they’ve done a good job. We have been relatively safe, and hopefully we’re continue to stay that way.”

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Email Jon Hale at; Follow him on Twitter at @JonHale_CJ

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