Five Texas Tech football players have tested positive for COVID-19 last week, which now makes the team's total positive cases to 75 since the players returned to campus in June, the school announced as reported by ESPN. There are six cases involving football players that remain active. There have also been a total of 116 cases involving student-athletes since testing began with no hospitalizations, according to the athletic department.
This past Saturday, the Red Raiders took on Houston Baptist without 12 players. The reasons for their absences weren't revealed, but the team ended up winning 35-33. "Might not have looked like we wanted it to look," Texas Tech head coach Matt Wells said after the game. "Credit goes to Houston Baptist. We knew that had a good quarterback and good wideouts. They threw it around. They threw it and caught it well. You know, I’m proud of our guys."
Having the 12 players who were missing could have helped the Red Raiders on Saturday. However, it looks like multiple players missing will be the norm for the time being. In August, Texas Tech reported 21 positive cases of COVID-19 within its football program but continued to practice. When asked about practice despite the multiple coronavirus cases, Wells said he felt comfortable pushing forward because of the number of players he had available.
"We followed all the protocols in here, and you just look at your numbers, and there's plenty of guys to practice," Wells said to ESPN. "But when you practice the way we practice, which is extremely fast, and I believe very efficient. Wells went on to say the team is "going as fast as we normally do, but we've just altered the way we've practiced, but I think again, our guys have handled it really well."
Wells said his team has done everything it can to stay healthy during practice, including wearing masks and having splash guards on players' helmets. Wells also said he wears a face shield at practice. "It's an opportunity to kind of put into play what me and the coaches and Dave Scholz, our strength coach, and Drew Krueger, our trainer, what we kind of thought up during the summer: 'Hey, if we have some positives and our numbers go down just a little bit ... we're going to try this from a practice standpoint,'" Wells said. Texas Tech is off this week but has a huge game on Sept. 26 when it faces Texas.