NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Tennessee football did not practice as scheduled this afternoon after an increase in positive cases within the program prompted Jeremy Pruitt to cancel practice.
Pruitt would not disclose the number of positives that warranted a cancellation, but said it wasn’t a lot. The head football coach said the main goal of canceling practice was to re-test players and figure out where the virus stemmed from.
“We had a few more positive tests, so I elected to shut practice down,” said Pruitt in a Zoom call with reporters. “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.”
He said he wants to exercise caution, but acknowledged the campus looks different this week than it did back in June and July.
“Now we’ve got the student body back on campus and that’s something that our student athletes are going to have to learn to live with. We have to make good decisions that when it comes to who you’re around, you have to understand you have to have a mask on at all times so we want to make sure it’s not spreading within our building,” said Pruitt.
Pruitt did not make a decision on Saturday’s scheduled practice, but said it is up in the air.
“This time, we wanted to take a day or two and go back to make sure that we are very thorough with each one of our players and figure out where the initial COVID came from. If that means we can’t practice tomorrow, we won’t practice tomorrow. This was my decision through our athletic training department, Dr. (Chris) Klenck. Again, it is about protecting everybody in our program.”
Practice has already been moved back to allow student athletes to attend a social justice march on campus, but Pruitt said they have plenty of time to reschedule practice.
“We have 25 practices. We have a bunch of time to get them in and it’s not like we are running out of time or anything like that. We want to make sure that we are protecting or players and reassuring their safety.”