Alabama assistants Bill O'Brien and Doug Marrone test positive for COVID-19

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Alabama assistant coaches Bill O'Brien and Doug Marrone have tested positive for COVID-19.

The Crimson Tide said Wednesday that both coaches were isolating at home and expected to be a part of the Dec. 31 Cotton Bowl. No. 1 Alabama plays No. 4 Cincinnati in the first of two College Football Playoff semifinals on New Year's Eve.

The former NFL head coaches are each in their first seasons on Alabama's staff. O'Brien is Alabama's offensive coordinator and Marrone is the team's offensive line coach. The former Houston Texans coach took over for Texas coach Steve Sarkisian and has been the play-caller for an offense that features Heisman winner Bryce Young and deep threat Jameson Williams. Marrone, a former head coach for the Bills and Jaguars, joined the staff in January, two weeks after he was fired by the Jaguars after more than four seasons as the team's head coach.

As the Omicron COVID-19 variant spreads across the country and professional sports leagues, there's a good chance that one or both semifinals could feature teams at less than full strength because of the virus. Alabama coach Nick Saban said earlier this week that his team was enacting stronger social distancing and masking policies as the team had effectively restarted the protocols it had in place during the 2020 season before vaccines were available.

Saban has said that over 90% of the Alabama football team is vaccinated.

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