FAU Football: Willie Taggart says 18 players and nine staff members tested positive for COVID-19

In total, 38 people would’ve missed the game Saturday against Southern Miss, with the positives and contact tracing requirements.

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Last Saturday’s game against Southern Miss was postponed because of matters relating to COVID-19 on FAU’s side. Photo by Alex Liscio.

Jensen Jennings, Sports Editor

At his press conference Monday, head coach Willie Taggart said 18 players and nine staff members tested positive last week for the coronavirus, which prompted FAU to postpone its game against Southern Miss last weekend.

Due to positive test results and contact tracing requirements, 38 players and staff would’ve missed last week’s game. 

“I’d say all together we’d have about 38 altogether that were either positive or had to quarantine,” Taggart said. “We tested three times last week and when you add them all up it was 18 players and nine staff.” 

According to fauowlaccess.com, “seven of those nine were FAU assistant coaches, including defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt and co-offensive coordinator Clint Trickett.” 

The game against Southern Miss was the sixth game of the season to be impacted by the coronavirus. The Minnesota, Stony Brook, and Old Dominion games were canceled before the season started. The Georgia Southern game was postponed due to a different COVID outbreak in September and the South Florida game was postponed the following week. 

“It’s sad that it happened to us again, but we’re going to move forward and get ready for Marshall,” Taggart said. “We have to continue to re-evaluate the things that we’re doing, lean on our doctors, administration, and myself to make sure that we’re continuing to do things in the best interest of our players and staff.” 

FAU has a bye this week which will give them some time to allow the players to return before the upcoming game against Marshall on Oct. 24. 

This will be the third time this season that FAU has dealt with the impacts of positive COVID-19 tests. The first was on Aug. 21 when three players tested positive and forced the team to pause practices. The second was on Sept. 16 when Taggart confirmed 11 players tested positive

“We’re educating our guys daily. We talk about it and have a protocol in place,” Taggart said. “I just think it’s a pandemic, it’s something we don’t know exactly how someone gets it. So, it’s tough to pinpoint exactly where it is.” 

Besides the Owls, FIU has also had games canceled due to COVID-19 concerns. On Aug. 13, FIU announced that they were postponing athletic competition through Sept. 16, which caused its first two games of the season to be canceled. 

Taggart’s old program, Florida State University, has dealt with COVID-19 issues of its own. On Sept. 19, their head coach Mike Norvell tested positive for the virus and last week FSU’s President John Thrasher tested positive for coronavirus. 

FAU’s next game is scheduled for Oct. 24 at 2:30 p.m. against Marshall and will be broadcast on the streaming service Stadium

Jensen Jennings is the sports editor for the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet him @Jensen_Jennings.