Baylor hasn't run a play since Oct. 3 or touched a football since Oct. 7. The first padded practice since then will be held Tuesday, 12 days after a COVID-19 outbreak forced a shuttering of the program. No problem, apparently, with Texas up next.
"It's good to be back," first-year Baylor coach Dave Aranda said Monday. "The staff, seeing each other, just getting off Zoom and being in the same building."
Going from 0-60 during the pandemic isn't unique to Baylor. The difference is the Bears suffered one of the biggest outbreaks of this season. There were 28 players and 14 additional staff members who tested positive for COVID-19, according to athletic director Mack Rhoades.
Baylor (1-1) went without football activity for 10 days following a shutdown of the program on Oct. 7. The team staged a walk-through Sunday and intends to have that first padded practice in almost two weeks on Tuesday.
"You've got a COVID playbook," Aranda said.
Several programs have been impacted during the pandemic. Houston had five games canceled or postponed before finally opening the season on Oct. 8. Oklahoma State hasn't played since Oct. 3 but at least got three games in beforehand. Rice will be the last Conference USA team to start Saturday against Middle Tennessee. The Blue Raiders have already played six games.
Florida had to postpone Saturday's game against LSU due to a COVID-19 outbreak that also forced a postponement of its following game against Missouri this week. The Gators have at least 21 players and three coaches, including Dan Mullen, who tested positive. Florida will be back on the field Oct. 31.
Two games into its season, Baylor had to pause following a 27-21 loss to West Virginia on Oct. 3. The facility was open only to a precious few, young players and those already recovered from COVID-19 able to work out.
Both programs are staging their own comebacks -- Baylor from the coronavirus and Texas from a crippling overtime loss to Oklahoma nine days ago.
Just having practice again "will be just what the doctor ordered," Aranda said.
"When I look at our guys and what they put into it, we'll get everything they got," he added.
The return from COVID-19 overshadows the usual Baylor-Texas storylines. Aranda and Texas coach Tom Herman were roommates in college at Cal Lutheran. The father, grandfather and uncle of Baylor quarterback Charlie Brewer were all Texas quarterbacks.
"He doesn't say a lot, but when he does, it's one of those things where everyone listens," Aranda said of Brewer.
Aranda is in his rookie season as a head coach after serving as the defensive coordinator at Hawaii, Utah State, Wisconsin and LSU.