BOCA RATON – COVID-19 position shortages allowed FAU coach Willie Taggart to relive his glory days.
With the quarterback position hit hard by COVID issues, Taggart loosened up his arm and threw passes in some drills during Wednesday’s FAU practice.
“I was throwing dimes,” said Taggart, who played quarterback at Western Kentucky in the late 1990s and was later inducted into the Hilltoppers Hall of Fame. “I told them I just look like this. I still have it.”
Sources tell OwlAccess.com that the quarterback position is one of the hardest hit by the current outbreak at FAU. Those affected include starting quarterback Nick Tronti who is among those identified via contact tracing, meaning he is expected to miss this week and at least part of next week while satisfying quarantine requirements.
Reserve quarterback Justin Agner missed the Owls’ Oct. 3 opener against Charlotte because of COVID issues.
Taggart said the Owls received a handful of new positive tests since Monday, when he announced that 18 players had tested positive over the previous few days. Some of those new positives had already started the quarantine process before the positive test.
He estimated that between 20 and 25 players were currently quarantined because of contact tracing on top of the more than 20 who have tested positive.
“It’s frustrating,” Taggart said.
FAU is following CDC guidelines with regard to positive tests and contact tracing. Players who test positive must be isolated for at least 10 days. Those identified via contact tracing must be quarantined for at least 14 days.
Following those rules, players identified by contact tracing after Oct. 10 will still be in quarantine when FAU is next scheduled to take the field, on Oct. 24 at Marshall.
FAU postponed its Oct. 10 game at Southern Miss two days prior to kickoff when scheduled COVID testing alerted the Owls to this current outbreak.
Isolation and quarantine protocols enforced as a result of those positive tests, along with contact tracing, left Owls too thin at two positions, prompting the postponement.
FAUOwlAccess.com reported last week that the offensive line was the other position group hit hard by COVID issues. A source tells FAUOwlAccess.com that positive tests and contact tracing sidelined every offensive lineman on the Owls’ two-deep.
The Owls canceled Tuesday’s practice but returned to the field on Wednesday.