COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)
Mizzou football coach Eli Drinkwitz met with reporters on a Zoom news conference on Wednesday ahead of fall camp. You can watch the entire interview in the video player above.
Coach Drinkwitz said the Tigers are going to do everything they can to play football this fall. As of now, the SEC, ACC and Big 12 are all moving ahead of fall sports. MU's first game is scheduled for Sept. 26.
"I’m proud to be associated with the SEC, and I’m proud of the way they’ve handled this situation," Drinkwitz said. "I can’t believe we’re looking at our watch on August 12, and we’ve got people that are saying we’re not playing football on Sept. 26. I mean that’s like the St. Louis Cardinals canceling the doubleheader on Sunday because it’s forecasted to rain and we’re talking about it being on Wednesday. I mean that's just crazy to me, but I'm a football coach - so I don't know."
Mizzou will begin its fall camp next Monday. The Tigers will hold 25 practices before their first game.
Coach Drinkwitz said none of his players have opted out of the season thus far. If they do, he said he will support their decision 100%.
"I’ve told our team several times, I have your back," Drinkwitz said. "If you tell me you want to opt out, I have your back. If you tell me you want to play, I have your back. That’s my job. And so whatever they want to do. Whatever they feel comfortable doing is what we’re going to do, and it’s an individual choice. The players that are here have said that they want to play."
MU has had a less than 3% positivity rate of COVID-19 testing since the school started testing student-athletes back in June, according to Drinkwitz. He said there have not been any COVID-19 cases traced back to MU's facilities.
"The morale has been good," Drinkwitz said. "I think there’s been uncertainty which is not good for the mental health of 18-22 year olds. It’s not good for the head football coach either, and so that’s been a real challenge. But, the morale when we’re between those white lines, when we’re out there lifting weights - as long as we’re not near our cell phones - our energy and excitement is really good."