BOCA RATON – Three days prior to his first game as FAU’s coach, Willie Taggart still isn’t certain Saturday’s season opener will be played.
“I think that all depends on if we have enough guys to play at certain positions,” Taggart said. “As of now we do and we’re planning on playing.”
Taggart publicly announced 11 positive COVID-19 tests among the football team, electing not to specify if all positive tests came from players, or whether it was a mixture of players, coaches and staff.
“We had 11 positives,” Taggart said. “Why elaborate?”
The 11 positives stemmed from a full-team test conducted on Monday. FAU re-tested its entire team on Tuesday and is still awaiting some of those results.
All players, coaches and staff members associated with the football team will also undergo COVID-19 tests on Thursday as part of the three regularly scheduled tests weekly tests.
“We’re doing our part in keeping our guys safe and the guys that have it, they’re not around anybody else,” Taggart said.
The University’s Student Health Services department is currently conducting contact tracing with regard to the 11 positive tests. Players found to have potential exposure to COVID-19 could be quarantined in accordance with university procedure, which would likely cause them to miss Saturday’s game at Georgia Southern.
“We’re still working with student health now to make sure we’re good in every aspect,” Taggart said.
The Eagles are all too familiar the Owls’ predicament. Georgia Southern played without 33 players in Saturday’s season-opening victory over Campbell. While some were forced to sit out following positive COVID-19 tests, Eagles coach Chad Lunsford said a large percentage of the 33 were sidelined after being identified as at-risk following contact tracing.
FAU canceled Tuesday’s practice but did practice on Wednesday.
On Tuesday Arkansas St. canceled its weekend game against Central Arkansas after at least one position group amassed too large a number of positive COVID-19 tests.
Originally FAU was scheduled to open the season at Minnesota and host Stony Brook the following weekend, but those games were canceled months ago because of the pandemic. FAU’s November Conference USA game against Old Dominion was also canceled when the Monarchs elected not to play football this season.