Ed Orgeron: 'Most' of LSU's players have had COVID-19

Texas Tech isn’t the only college football program that has dealt with substantial COVID-19 cases.

LSU head coach Ed Orgeron said in a Tuesday news conference that “most” of his players have contracted COVID-19 at some point, including a time where the majority of the team’s offensive linemen were being held out of practice.

“Two weeks ago, we had everybody on our offensive line except two or three guys were out. We adjusted very well. You got to make adjustments. Not all of our players, but most of our players have caught it, so hopefully they don’t catch it again. And hopefully they’re not out for games,” Orgeron said.

When asked for further clarification, Orgeron said he did not have an exact tally of players who have had COVID-19. He also cited the SEC.

“I’m not going to say all of them, but some players have caught it. I don’t know the percentage. Hopefully once you catch it, you don’t get it again,” Orgeron said.

Orgeron cited the SEC’s protocols for COVID-19 management that say players who tested positive for the virus and have recovered “will not be required” to be tested again for 90 days.

“I’m not a doctor and I think they got that 90-day window. Most of the players that have caught it, we feel that they’re going to be eligible for games. We look at the players that have caught it and we say, ‘OK, this guy should be eligible for games.’ And the players that haven’t caught it, we talk to them about being very, very careful so they’re eligible for games,” Orgeron said.

“But we know that the players that haven’t caught it, we have to have some backups in their position ready in case they catch it. So we’re looking at our roster in that manner.”

With LSU’s season scheduled to begin Sept. 26 against Ole Miss, Orgeron said the Tigers have “three or four” players with active cases currently. Compared to where they were earlier this offseason, Orgeron feels like his team is in a good spot from a health perspective.

“We feel like we’re very healthy,” Orgeron said. “I believe we have three or four guys that have the COVID now. Not a lot of guys in quarantine. I think we’re probably better off than we’ve been all camp right now going into the season. Obviously we have to be really careful. Our guys feel good.”

Orgeron updates on player opt-outs

LSU has had plenty of roster activity since its national championship triumph. Most recently, it lost several players to opt outs. One player, though, has decided to return.

Orgeron confirmed several reports that defensive lineman Neil Farrell has decided to return to the team. Farrell cited his grandmother’s health when deciding to opt out of the season last month. Now he is back in the fold after having 46 tackles, seven tackles for loss and three sacks in 2019.

Another defensive lineman, Tyler Shelvin, might also return. Orgeron said he has spoken to Shelvin’s family, but has not had direct contact with the possible first-round pick. Shelvin was LSU’s starter at nose tackle in 2019.

“We hear rumblings. His family has called me. I know people are talking to him. I have not spoken to Tyler. I think some of his teammates are talking to him but there has not been a decision yet,” Orgeron said. “We’d take him back obviously. We want him back. I don’t know where he’s at in his mind. If he doesn’t want to come back, obviously we wish him the best. If he wants to come back, like any member of our family, we’ll take him back.”

One other defensive lineman, Nelson Jenkins, has also opted out. Orgeron said he has not spoken with Jenkins in the past two weeks. Jenkins is a reserve who did not see the field in 2019.

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