Alabama assistants Bill O’Brien, Doug Marrone positive for COVID-19, expected back for Cotton Bowl matchup


Alabama offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien and offensive line coach Doug Marrone have both tested positive for COVID-19, Alabama coach Nick Saban and athletic trainer Jeff Allen announced Wednesday. 

“They have very mild symptoms and are home isolating while following all appropriate guidelines,” Saban and Allen said in their joint statement. “We anticipate both being able to coach in the College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Goodyear Cotton Bowl.” 

While Alabama expects O’Brien and Marrone back for the bowl game, the testing means that neither will be able to be involved with in-person preparations for the No. 1 Tide’s College Football Playoff semifinal matchup against No. 4 Cincinnati on Dec. 31 in the Cotton Bowl. The team announced on Tuesday that the program has gone back to wearing masks and social distancing in the football facility. 

More than 90% of Alabama’s players are vaccinated and have received their booster shot, according to ESPN. O’Brien and Marrone are both former NFL head coaches that joined the Crimson Tide after both of their predecessors in Tuscaloosa left to join former Alabama offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian at Texas. 

“Am I concerned? I’m always concerned when there’s an issue out there,” Saban said. “We want to do the best we can to help our players be concerned about the issue and respect it so they have the best opportunity to stay safe.” 

O’Brien and Marrone’s positive tests come in the midst of a major wave of COVID-19 cases, especially with a rise of the…


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