Pitt had to hold seven players out of its season-opening win over Austin Peay due to COVID-19 protocols, and among that group were starting senior defensive linemen Keyshon Camp and Rashad Weaver.
Head coach Pat Narduzzi said after the game that he expected to have all seven back in the lineup this Saturday against Syracuse. But is that even possible within the ACC’s testing rules? The answer is that it depends.
ACC football players that test positive must be isolated from the program for 10 days following a positive test and the completion of any symptoms.
In the case of Weaver, who announced that he had tested positive on Thursday, Sept. 10, his 10 days of isolation will include Sept. 19, meaning that he will be forced to miss the Syracuse game.
For the rest of the missing Panthers, we don’t know when they tested positive, so we can’t know if their 10 days will expire. There’s also the symptoms factor to consider, something that Pitt has not and will not release.
We also don’t even know if they tested positive. If they were held out due to not a positive test, but instead a contract tracing situation, they have to sit out a full 14 days, which would automatically disqualify them from suiting up against the Orange.
The other factor at play here is that the players that are isolated cannot participate in practice. Could they even play after missing all of the game-week preparations for Syracuse?
“I haven’t had really many conversations with them on Zoom,” Narduzzi said on Monday. “It’s the protocol we have to go through with them. They’ll sit on Zoom meetings, whether it’s on the iPad when we’re in the facility as we’re socially distanced. They’re with their position coaches. They don’t want to miss a beat. They’re happy to be on a Zoom call. Let’s put it that way. That’s all they get. You get stripped of everything. You’re in isolation, you’re locked down. You got your cell phone, your iPad, you got a bed.”
It all adds up to it seemingly being unlikely that Pitt gets a large percentage of those seven players back in action on Saturday, and as Narduzzi also noted, who knows if there might be more players held out this week?