LSU-Florida postponed to Dec. 12 because of Gators’ COVID-19 outbreak

In a football season so far in which not much has gone right for LSU, the 1-2 Tigers caught a huge break Wednesday.

Three hours after LSU coach Ed Orgeron said on the SEC coaches teleconference that starting quarterback Myles Brennan was doubtful for Saturday’s game at No. 10 Florida, it was announced that the game is being postponed until Dec. 12 because of the Gators’ COVID-19 outbreak.

Florida shut down its program Tuesday because of 21 players testing positive as well as two assistants.

“Among our scholarship players, we have 18 current positives,” Florida athletic director Scott Stricklin said. “We have another three walk-ons who are positive, so a total of 21 current team members, and when you add in those who are quarantined through contact tracing as a result of those positives, in addition to a handful of players who are on the non-COVID injury list, it gives the Gators less than 50 scholarship players available currently.

“Fortunately, all those who are positive in this instance, including some coaches and some football staff, they seem to be either asymptomatic or only experiencing mild symptoms so that’s obviously a positive right now and hopefully they’ll continue to not have more severe symptoms.”

Orgeron said on the teleconference he wouldn’t be surprised if the game was postponed.

“In 2020, it’s what we’re dealing with.” Orgeron said. “The safety of the kids is the primary focus this week. If it’s safe for us to play, we’re going to play. If the best thing for us is not to play, we shouldn’t play.”

Orgeron had been faced with the prospect of facing the Gators with Brennan unavailable. He took a big direct hit on his left shoulder scrambling for the goal line in last Saturday’s 45-41 loss at Missouri.

Brennan is ranked nationally in the top five in three categories — third in passing yards per game (370.70), fourth in TD passes (11) and fifth in completions per game (26.33).

But Wednesday morning, Orgeron said Brennan was going to be doubtful to play at Florida.

“He’s doubtful, I think maybe by Friday he’ll come around,” Orgeron said. “He didn’t practice yesterday (Tuesday) and he won’t practice today. I think he’ll practice by the end of the week.”

Orgeron was faced with the prospect of starting true freshmen backup QBs Max Johnson of Watkinsville (Ga.) Oconee County High and TJ Finley of Ponchatoula (La.) High, who have yet to play a snap.

Now, the Tigers have 11 days until their next game Oct. 24 vs. South Carolina in Tiger Stadium. Kickoff has been set for 3 p.m. with the game televised on the SEC Network.

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Ron Higgins

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