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Alabama head coach Nick Saban is shown receiving the trophy after the end of the 2018 College Football Playoff National Championship game between the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Georgia Bulldogs in Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia, on Monday, Jan. 8, 2018. Alabama beat Georgia 26-23 in overtime after being down 13-0 at halftime. (Photo/Casey Sykes, www.caseysykes.com)

The news of Alabama head coach Nick Saban testing positive for COVID-19 cast a shadow upon Georgia’s Week 4 matchup with its SEC foe. Saban and Alabama athletic director Greg Byrne’s positive tests were announced Wednesday evening, three days before the Georgia-Alabama game set for Oct. 17.

“We’re focused over here at Georgia, not too much what’s going on at Alabama,” sophomore running back Kenny McIntosh said in a virtual press conference Wednesday night. “That’s all we’re concerned about.”

The rise in cases has already postponed two Week 4 games, one between LSU and Florida, and another featuring Missouri and Vanderbilt. Nineteen players have reportedly tested positive in the Florida program’s outbreak. Both games are tentatively scheduled to be made up on Dec. 12.

McIntosh said he expects Georgia’s preparation to stay the same despite scheduling changes already becoming a factor this week.

Maintaining its policy of silence regarding COVID-19 among its players, Georgia has not announced a positive test since the season began. Redshirt sophomore wide receiver Kearis Jackson thinks the Bulldogs have become more mature during the season, and they know what is at stake. The case numbers rising in the SEC, though, is a wake up call for Georgia to vigorously follow protocol.

“It definitely is a wake up call,” Jackson said. “ We just have to continue doing a great job as a team and a staff by just making sure we are continuing to wear our masks and social distance when we are out in public.”

McIntosh said the Georgia players and coaching staff have continued to be safe amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Both players emphasized their focus being solely on preparation for Alabama and safety measures.

Alabama poses an offensive threat unlike any team Georgia has faced so far this season. The Bulldogs have struggled against Alabama in recent history but still look at the matchup against their second-ranked rival as just another game on the schedule.

“I do not have any concern with coach Saban testing positive,” Jackson said. “I am more so worried about us as a team being prepared to go play a huge game. We know we have to be prepared and execute and focus on what Georgia has to do.”

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