Oklahoma's once-pristine COVID-19 record has recently been marred by the pandemic, including, per coach Lincoln Riley, all but one player in an unidentified "major position group."
Riley relayed the news to reporters in a Tuesday Zoom meeting when he was asked about the possibility of players being featured at multiple positions. Riley said he learned of the positive tests the night before practice, resulting in a scramble to quarantine effected players.
"We lose all but one person at a position group — a major position group on the field — and we have to practice that day with a position where we had multiple players on the field at one time and we had one player there," Riley said.
It's likely Riley's anecdote comes from Oklahoma's series of tests distributed from Aug. 17-21; according to data released by the university, six players tested positive for the coronavirus that week, increasing the number of active cases on the team to 17. Riley said on Tuesday that "eight or nine" of those players were back with the team.
Oklahoma football at one point boasted one of the most pristine programs in terms of positive COVID-19 tests. After initially announcing 14 positive tests on July 1, the Sooners produced only one positive test in the next five weeks, including a four-week span without a positive test from July 8-29. From July 1 through Aug. 8, the program produced only 15 positives out of 700 player tests.
On Aug. 15, however, Riley reported that nine of his players had tested positive for the coronavirus from its run of tests performed the day prior. Those tests were done, Riley said, after he gave the team a break on Aug. 8 and allowed players to return home.
"It'd be pretty easy for me to say right now that I regret it," Riley said at the time of his decision to let the team return home (via ESPN). "I also feel like if I keep a team pinned up here for a six- or seven-week training camp I probably would regret that, too."
Oklahoma's first game of the season is scheduled for Sept. 12 against visiting Missouri State.