Baltimore Sun

Mids’ foe could have ‘some is­sues’

East Carolina may be af­fected by virus test­ing

- By Bill Wag­ner Sports · East Carolina University · Houston · Florida · American Athletic Conference · Cincinnati · Tulsa · Greenville, NC

There are strong in­di­ca­tions the East Carolina foot­ball team might be im­pacted by coro­n­avirus when it hosts Navy on Satur­day.

Coach Mike Hous­ton took the un­usual step Wed­nes­day night of ad­dress­ing the me­dia prior to vir­tual news con­fer­ences sched­uled for the East Carolina of­fen­sive and de­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tors. Hous­ton stated the Pi­rates are “deal­ing with some is­sues right now” re­lated to COVID-19 test­ing.

Hous­ton ac­knowl­edged the is­sues arose from test­ing con­ducted Mon­day fol­low­ing East Carolina’s win at South Florida. The sec­ond-year coach would name spe­cific play­ers af­fected by pos­i­tive tests or con­tact trac­ing.

“Not re­ally go­ing to dis­cuss or get into who’s avail­able or who’s not avail­able right now,” Hous­ton said. “We have had to make some ad­just­ments, but those ad­just­ments have been made and are go­ing to con­tinue to be made.

“We won’t have a true pic­ture un­til the end of the week of what our ros­ter is go­ing to look like.”

East Carolina tested foot­ball play­ers and staff again Wed­nes­day morn­ing and was due to re­ceive re­sults by early Thurs­day morn­ing. Amer­i­can Ath­letic Con­fer­ence guide­lines say both par­tic­i­pat­ing teams must take a fi­nal anti­gen test Fri­day morn­ing be­fore Satur­day’s game is al­lowed to pro­ceed.

AAC schools are not per­mit­ted to re­lease the sta­tus of in­di­vid­ual play­ers in terms of test­ing. East Carolina foot­ball prac­tice has been closed to the me­dia this week, pre­vent­ing re­porters from de­ter­min­ing if any play­ers missed prac­tice.

One East Carolina foot­ball beat re­porter asked Hous­ton about the sta­tus of quar­ter­back Holton Ah­lers, who is ru­mored to be among the play­ers im­pacted by Mon­day’s test­ing, but Hous­ton de­clined to “ad­dress any kind of ru­mor.”

“You know how ru­mors go, so you bet­ter be care­ful,” he said.

Hous­ton only vaguely ref­er­enced the prospect East Carolina could have mul­ti­ple play­ers ruled out of Satur­day’s game against Navy, a noon kick­off at DowdyFickl­en Sta­dium in Greenville.

“We are deal­ing with some is­sues right now and we’ll con­tinue to work through them as the week goes on,” he said. “We had an­other round of test­ing to­day, so it’s a sit­u­a­tion that’s still very fluid.”

Hous­ton ex­pressed con­fi­dence the Pi­rates would be pre­pared for Satur­day re­gard­less of what hap­pens the rest of this week.

“We’ve had two re­ally good prac­tices, par­tic­u­larly to­day,” Hous­ton said Wed­nes­day evening. “The energy, the ef­fort, the per­for­mance … we were re­ally able to cor­rect some things from yes­ter­day and have a pro­duc­tive day. I feel very, very good about where we are go­ing into the week­end. I feel con­fi­dent our team is go­ing to be ready to go.”

Else­where, the AAC an­nounced Thurs­day that the sched­uled foot­ball game be­tween Cincin­nati and Tulsa on Satur­day has been post­poned due to pos­i­tive COVID-19 cases at Cincin­nati and the en­su­ing quar­an­tine of stu­den­tath­letes. The game has been resched­uled for Dec. 5.

 ?? GERRY BROOME/AP ?? East Carolina head coach Mike Hous­ton said his pro­gram is deal­ing with some is­sues re­lated to coro­n­avirus test­ing.
GERRY BROOME/AP East Carolina head coach Mike Hous­ton said his pro­gram is deal­ing with some is­sues re­lated to coro­n­avirus test­ing.

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