'Everyone understands the gravity': UM football cautious of COVID ahead of CFP

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News

Ann Arbor — With growing concerns about the spread of COVID-19, the Michigan football team is taking additional steps to keep the players and staff healthy.

Michigan, the No. 2 team in the College Football Playoff rankings, is preparing to face No. 3 Georgia in the Orange Bowl national semifinal on Dec. 31 in Miami Lakes, Fla. The team departs for Florida on Saturday.

Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh waits with the team before running out onto the field for the start of the game.

“We’ve implemented masks in meeting, maintaining social distancing,” Michigan tackle Andrew Stueber said Tuesday night after practice. “A lot of people are taking their meals to go now, not really sitting too much.”

"It’s a lot safer now out there. A lot of students have left the campus, the booster is out there now. We have a full-team booster shot (Wednesday), so that’ll be good. I think everyone understands the gravity of the situation. To have an outbreak now would be devastating to a lot of people. Understanding the concern there is a big thing so we’ve taken the proper precautions.”

More: Michigan basketball game vs. Purdue Fort Wayne canceled

Michigan football spokesman Dave Ablauf clarified that several players and coaches have already received their COVID booster. He said all Michigan athletes will receive a booster shot.

Stueber said there haven’t been any player absences from practice because of COVID.

Cancellations and postponements have happened again in several sports. Red Wings games will be postponed at least through Dec. 26. The Omicron variant is now the dominant version of the virus in the U.S.