SEATTLE – At this point, every completed college football game feels like a minor miracle.
The Washington Huskies have had three season openers canceled. In the SEC – where it “just means more,” whatever that means – four games this Saturday have been postponed. As another wave of COVID-19 canvasses the country, the college football season teeters on the edge of a cliff.
So, after his team concluded its morning practice on Thursday, UW head coach Jimmy Lake was asked a relatively straightforward question.
Given the circumstances, how confident are you that Saturday’s season opener against Oregon State will be played?
“I’ll tell you this: We prepare like we are going to play the game,” Lake said. “We just finished practice. It’s all eyes on Oregon State and we are ready for those guys to get here, and we’re excited to play the game. That’s just how we have to go about our business. We can’t have one foot in, going, ‘OK, it might be played. It may not.’ Because then when it’s played we definitely won’t be ready. But the Dawgs are prepared. We are ready.
“We just had an excellent week and a half of practice preparing for these guys. We’re itching to play. We’re excited to play.
“At this moment, I feel 100% confident that this game is going to take place on Saturday night.”
And the moment – roughly 11 a.m. on Thursday – is important to note. Because, roughly an hour later, Oregon State announced that one player has tested positive for COVID-19 and three others are in quarantine, though the game is still scheduled to be played. The positive case occurred on Monday and the football team has had zero positive antigen tests since, according to athletics director Scott Barnes.
“We are absolutely playing Saturday, so no issue there,” Barnes told The Oregonian.
A source also indicated UW’s administration remains confident Saturday’s game will go on.
That’s also despite the fact that, on Wednesday evening, UW reported 13 active positive cases of COVID-19 in its athletic department – four more than the week before. That could be connected heavily to the Husky baseball program, which paused offseason workouts last week following an uptick in positive cases.
When asked if his team is at full strength, Lake said simply:
“Good to go.”
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