Smart Explains Road Trips in COVID-19 World

Kyle Funderburk

Managing a football team is a challenging task under normal circumstances.

There's the on field prepping of game plans, schemes and fundamentals. Then there's the daily media cycle and player relations away from the field. But teams aren't operating under normal circumstances this year with the COVID-19 pandemic creating new challenges. 

Preventing an outbreak of the virus is a top priority. That's been a struggle for some coaches and programs. So far, Georgia football and head coach Kirby Smart have done a good job of limiting the risk of an outbreak. Seven players tested positive when the team started practicing in the summer, but as of mid-October, Georgia has avoided true outbreaks.

The virus presents its biggest challenges on road trips. Going into the team's third road game of the year, Smart shared the measures his team is taking to prevent COVID-19 outbreaks away from home.

"In terms of COVID-19 protocol, we have a seating chart," Smart said. "We don’t let certain guys of like positions sit near each other in hopes of spreading guys out. We try to keep roommates close to each other because they have already been exposed [to each other]. We’re trying to criss-cross and not have an exposure knock somebody out if somebody was to test positive. That is the biggest difference. 

"[In the hotel], they don’t ride the elevators, don’t ride with anyone you don’t know, don’t hang around in the lobby. We have less people sitting at a table, therefore spreading out more. We have had some precautions there that we have learned from other teams that have had issues on the road. It doesn’t mean we are perfect, by any means. We try to learn.”

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