COVID-19 taking toll on Tiger football

COVID-19 taking toll on Tiger football
Memphis Tigers return to AutoZone Liberty Bowl for season opener (Source: WMC Action News 5)

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - University of Memphis football continues to deal with a COVID-19 outbreak, altering the team’s plans for the past couple weeks. So, where does the program stands now?

Tigers head coach Ryan Silverfield won’t say how many players are sidelined because of the coronavirus, but it’s enough to cause the team to adjust their practice schedules.

They’re now doing modified practices since they’re not at full strength. He does say with the number of players missing it’s about 50/50 between players who are unavailable because they tested positive and those in quarantine after contact tracing, which has been the toughest part.

The Memphis Tigers will go a full month between the home opener earlier in the month and their next scheduled game at SMU Oct. 3.

Silverfield says, “We don’t want to line up between those white lines without our family, without our brotherhood and I think when they put it in that perspective and a lot of our guys have had COVID, and they understand the severity of this. We have guys that are in quarantine, so I think they want to play with as many guys as they can. Get back on the field. It’s no fun going on the practice field, missing your teammates and looking around seeing all your guys aren’t there, so like I’ve said all along, I give full credit to our student-athletes, our players have been steadfast in their approach, they’ve stayed.”

For those players who are quarantined, Silverfield says they have to go through extensive cardiac testing before they’re even allowed back into the football facilities.

The team not taking it lightly, which is why when I asked Silverfield what the over-arching emotions are when the program is going through something like this he said it’s a whirlwind and they’re hurting because they’re not healthy. But he still has so much pride because he believes they’re handling it the right way.

Kickoff time for the Tigers next game is now set. It’s 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 3 at SMU in Dallas.

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