The Missouri football team has not yet played a game in 2020, but its list is shrinking. On call for an increase with reporters on Wednesday afternoon, the head coach Elijah Drinkwitz revealed that the team will be left without 12 players for its opening match of the season against Alabama on September 26 due to the quarantine of COVID-19. In addition, a wide receiver Maurice Massi and defensive devices Chris Daniels have given up the season.
The number of players rejected for the opening of the season is due to quarantine, quadrupled in size since the last time Drinkwitz spoke to reporters on Saturday night. He noted that these figures are based on tests conducted on Sunday. The team passed another round of tests on Wednesday and expects results.
“This is from Sunday̵
Not all 12 players who were excluded from team activities had mandatory positive tests for COVID-19. NCAA protocols require those who test positive, as well as “high-risk contacts” – in this case, mostly roommates – to be quarantined for at least 14 days. These players, defined as high-risk contacts, cannot shorten their time on the team even with multiple negative tests. Drinkwitz said the team holds all of its team-wide meetings and group position meetings through Zoom so that quarantined players can participate, but that’s the extent of their participation in the team.
As for Massie and Daniels, they represent the first two Missouri players to give up the 2020 season due to concerns about the coronavirus. Drinkwitz said that while the duo could join the team if they wanted, based on their conversations, he did not see them rejoining.
Massi played frugally as he directed in his first year on campus in 2019. He did not record a catch, but looked like a potential candidate for a bigger role this season. Drinkwitz expressed optimism that the receiving corps would be fine without him. Daniels, a one-time Texas signatory, has been buried at an experienced depth in protective gear since arriving on campus from Copy-Lincoln College. Both players can join the roster next season if they choose.
“I have been at the forefront: If anyone decides to give up, we have our backs, we support them and we wish them well,” Drinkwitz said. “And then we continue. We want to make sure that they are taken care of academically and taken care of in the classroom, regardless of the aspects we can help them with, but we continue with boys who want to be, who want to play this year. ”
Whether due to quarantine, denial or injury, the players’ absences made Drinkwitz’s challenging task to install a new offense during an out-of-season cut before the 10-mat schedule just for the SEC even higher. He noted that the attacking scheme has been installed, but players are still struggling with the execution because it is impossible to take repeats with the same staff.
“The whole installation of the violation is in,” he said. “The implementation is wrong. And that’s all based on repetitions, repetitions, repetitions, repetitions, repetitions. … It’s insulting to get all 11 people on the same page, and we had a lot of different bands. And it’s not perfect for cohesive football. “
Drinkwitz did not reveal which players were quarantined, but said the offensive line and the specialists were “really fighting.” He said on Saturday that five different left-backs had been involved in five training sessions in the first team violation last week, both due to injuries and quarantine.
“We’re a little aggressive now, anyway, the total number of bodies and injuries, so these guys have to do extra work,” Drinkwitz said. “But I just have to handle it.”
Drinkwitz is not sure if the virus was transmitted through football activities. For most of the first two months that the Missouri players were back on campus, going through training and coaching, he noted that there was no evidence of transmission at football facilities.
Drinkwitz declined to speculate on whether Alabama’s game could be jeopardized as a result of the latest round of positive tests, but said the team would have many bodies available at the moment. His message was similar to Saturday: He knows that fans don’t want to hear excuses, so he won’t stand up. The coaching staff will try to prepare the list as ready as possible to face Alabama with players on hand.
“They’ll do it on the 26th, and everyone in Missouri will expect us to be prepared,” Drinkwitz said, “so we’ll get ready.”