It was brief, but Tennessee paused practice on Friday after receiving multiple positive COVID-19 test results.
Jeremy Pruitt said during a Friday Zoom call with media, "Today, we elected not to practice. As you guys know, we continue to constantly test within our program and we have really had very good results the entire time with the exception of, like I said before, when I gave them eight days off for the Fourth of July. But this week, we had a few more positive tests, so I elected to shut practice down. We retested everybody again this morning to see where we’re at. Our No. 1 priority here is to be able to protect everybody associated with our program and that’s what we’re going to continue to do. As we get the results back, we’ll see exactly where we’re at and we’ll start practice up accordingly.”
Pruitt did not reveal the number of players that tested positive, but he put an emphasis on contact tracing, saying, "We want to make sure that it’s not spreading within our building because to this point, we’ve had zero spread in the tracing from within our building and that’s just one of the things we wanted to make sure of."
Pruitt also added on contact tracing, "When you start trying to go back and figure it out, the first thing is that it takes a lot of communication. You want to make sure that it’s not being transmitted within our building, first and foremost. Just going back and gathering the information and figuring out. That is something that we’ve done the last 48 hours and we will continue to do that.”
This will mark Tennessee's 7th practice. Pruitt also offered up a comment on his thoughts about the first six practices as he said, "We’ve had six really good practices. Obviously, the last couple we’ve had a chance to put pads on. It’s been good for our guys, been good for our coaching staff, so a lot of really good work, lots of competition. When you put pads on you get an opportunity to finish blocks, you get an opportunity to thud guys in practice, lot more emphasis on ball security, getting balls out. (We) had a chance to really work a lot on Wednesday on special teams. Unfortunately, we’ve had a lot of rain here for a couple of practices and have not had a chance to get out there and kick balls, operation with the specialists, field balls, so that was really good. We’ve got to continue to be able to do that. We feel like we have really good specialists, guys that can create explosive plays in the return game, so getting a chance to do that has been good to get out there and get going to do it.
Photo from Tennessee Football Twitter