The college football world was thrown into turmoil on Wednesday when news broke that Alabama coach Nick Saban has tested positive for COVID-19. Since then, we learned that a PCR test conducted Thursday came back negative. Saban could be on the field when the No. 2 Crimson Tide host No. 3 Georgia on Saturday night as long as consecutive PCR tests taken Friday and Saturday also come back negative.
Nevertheless, Alabama is preparing as if that will not be the case.
Offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian, the head coach at Washington (2009-13) and USC (2014-15), will serve as the program's leader Saturday if Saban is not on the sideline. How much will change with Sark in charge?
Saban joined CBS Sports Network on Friday to discuss what will be a bizarre matchup.
"Sark is an experienced head coach, so he will assume a lot of the duties that I had because you're not allowed any electronic communication to the sidelines nor can you be at the game," Saban told CBS Sports' Jamie Erdahl. "That would be the first real impact of not having a presence. It is what it is and we just have to manage it the best way we can."
Saban believes that his mark on the 2020 Crimson Tide has already been etched and trusts that his players and coaches know how to operate in order to reach their goal of winning the national championship.
"The preparation for the game shouldn't be any different," he said. "I would be Zooming in practice; I've been in every meeting with them since then. The discipline -- I talk to them every time after practice. Even if I haven't been on the field, I haven't seen an effect. Unless a lot of guys might be happy I'm not out there, I'm afraid to ask."
Saban's status for Saturday night's game is still up in the air, and since he's still asymptomatic, the final decision will be made on game day if he is able to test negative on three straight PCR tests each taken 24 hours apart. If he is relegated to the couch, he has a plan on how to take in the biggest game of the season and provide any help that he can.
"I think [watching on] TV is more difficult for coaching standpoint … you don't see the secondary or play action pass," he said. "I'll be hooked into the film that we're taking so I can see the big picture of what's going on, so I can take notes and get that information legally to our staff."
Saban has never missed a game as a coach and says that he only missed a few as a player. That obviously could change on Saturday. As for whether his wife, Miss Terry, will be in the room watching along with Saban if he's stuck at home on Saturday night, Saban said that is out of his hands.
"You outta know that's up to her and not me," he said with a smile.
Alabama and Georgia will square off Saturday at 8 p.m. ET in the SEC on CBS Game of the Week.