LSU and Arkansas will play this Saturday.
Coronavirus concerns within the Arkansas football program made the game uncertain late this week, but the game will still take place, a source confirmed to The Advocate and as first reported by Sports Illustrated.
Arkansas coach Sam Pittman said Thursday his team needed the results of its latest coronavirus tests to ensure the Razorbacks could play host to LSU at 11 a.m. Saturday.
Pittman said as of Thursday afternoon, Arkansas had enough available players to meet Southeastern Conference requirements, but the tests Arkansas took Thursday would determine whether the Razorbacks stayed above the threshold.
The SEC recommends teams have a minimum of 53 available scholarship players, including at least one quarterback, four defensive linemen and seven offensive linemen. Pittman didn’t specify how many Arkansas players are out.
“I’m going to just tell you the truth,” Pittman said Thursday. “We’re running thin.”
Arkansas had two staff members and at least one player test positive for COVID-19 on Sunday, according to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. The results put other players and staff members in the conference’s mandatory 14-day quarantine.
Earlier this week, Arkansas didn’t expect the coronavirus cases to affect the game against LSU. Pittman said Wednesday his team had adequate numbers.
Pittman, who recently recovered from the coronavirus, maintained Thursday his team sat above the threshold and wanted to play LSU, but Arkansas first needed to review its latest round of test results Friday.
“We want to play the game,” Pittman said. “But you have to have adequate numbers to play the game, and we are thin. If we have a good test (Friday), then, by golly, we’re going to play the game.”
LSU already has had two games postponed this season. The SEC moved the Tigers’ game in October against Florida to Dec. 12, the conference’s built-in open date, because of coronavirus cases within the Gators program.
LSU also had its game last weekend, scheduled against Alabama, postponed because a small number of coronavirus cases and subsequent contact tracing forced LSU below the SEC requirements. That game has not yet been rescheduled.
LSU coach Ed Orgeron said most of the Tigers’ players returned this week.
Wilson Alexander contributed to this report