Will Omicron have an impact on the Rose Bowl? The Utes say they are taking precautions to ensure ‘Grandaddy of Them All’ is not at risk


Utah soccer coach Kyle Whittingham and his players showed up at Disneyland on Monday as the Rose Bowl competition kicked in.

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Mika Tafua, Devin Lloyd, Brother Covey and Cameron Rising ride down Disneyland’s Main Street during the Rose Bowl Game Cavalcade Festival in Anaheim, California, on Monday, December 27, 2021.

Anaheim, Calif. • One year after the COVID-19 pandemic forced Rose bowl will be held in Dallas, “Grandfather of All” has restored some of the look and feel of a normal Monday.

At first glance anyway.

Utah Soccer Coach Kyle Whittingham and several Utes players rode 1920s-style buggies in a cavalcade down the iconic Main Street of Disneyland, USA, as had been customary in the days leading up to the Rose Bowl, along with coaching Ohio State head coach Ryan Day and his players.

UK Covey, Devin Lloyd, Orange Rising and Mika Tafua – four of Whittingham’s five captains – used their own buggy, climbing Main Street as parkgoers and large crowds of fans from both shows lined Main Street and cheer.

It looks like the usual contest of the eighth week, but the full normal is still way.

This bowl of roses, Utah’s first after winning the Pac-12 championship for the first time on December 3, being played amid the Omicron variant and rising COVID-19 cases, prompting teams around the country to opt out of the bowl game and, in some cases, the bowl game to be cancelled. As of Monday afternoon, the Hawaii Bowl (December 24), the Military Bowl (December 27), the Fenway Bowl (December 29) and the Arizona Bowl (December 31) have all been canceled, while opting out of the events. Another point sent the chief executive officer to scramble.

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Utah football coach Kyle Whittingham rides his horse down Disneyland Main Street during the Rose Bowl Game Cavalcade Stadium in Anaheim, California, on Monday, December 27, 2021.

The latest case came Monday afternoon, about 90 minutes before the Wyoming-Ohio Disneyland cavalry began, with Boise State opting out of the Arizona Bowl. The match then spiked after Broncos rival Central Michigan reportedly opted out to take on Washington State in another tournament that needed a team, the Sun Bowl.

With bowl games affected in various regions this month, why be confident that fate will not befall this Rose Bowl?

“I don’t know why that should be the case, but I’m confident and hopeful that things can continue as they should,” masked Whittingham said at the Main Street Opera House after the procession. “We seem to be doing very well – knocking on wood – and I am expecting Ohio State to do the same. They (cancelled bowls) are dropping, hoping that the Rose Bowl will succeed without any hitch. We’ll see what happens.”

Whittingham said in August that he expects his program to stabilize with a vaccination rate of 95 percent. On Monday, he revealed that that number is actually 99%. The coach said the Utes had only one unvaccinated player.

As for the percentage of his roster that received a booster shot, neither a spokesman for the sport nor Whittingham offered an answer when asked on Monday. The trainer said he wasn’t sure about the percentage, although he did confirm that people wanted an additional shot.

“Our team is taking things seriously,” said Covey, the extensive redshirt collection and returns specialist who will play the college’s final game in the Rose Bowl. “We try to wear masks, we do whatever we can. This is what we have been aiming for for many years now. If it is cancelled, it will not belong to us. We’ve talked about it as a team, we’re trying to keep it going.

“We’re at Disneyland, which seems counter-intuitive, but at the same time, it’s part of the great experience. We are hoping for the best. ”

To add to Covey’s latter point, Disneyland is open for business and it gets very crowded on Mondays, between Christmas and New Year’s, even as Omicron continues to spread across the United States. Not everyone in line on Main Street, or in any other part of the park, wears a mask, but to be fair, there’s no Disney or Orange County process for wearing a mask. outdoor mask. Indoors is a different story as everyone inside the Opera House – coaches, players, Rose Bowl officials, Disneyland officials and the media – must wear masks.

Late Monday, Lawry’s The Prime Rib, an upscale bakery in suburban Beverly Hills, canceled its annual Beef Bowl, a longstanding Rose Bowl Week tradition that Ohio State will attend on Tuesday and Wednesday in Utah. The restaurant cited “growing concern around COVID-19 and the Omicron variant.”

The Beef Bowl is the second in-person event to be canceled this week after the Pasadena Tournament of Roses decided to scrap Thursday’s media day, which includes a two-team depth chart for each team meeting with the media.

“I leave it to the pros in that field, I just try to find a way to push my team and get the first win,” Day said, when asked why to be confident that the Rose Bowl will be contested. fight . “At the same time, it’s part of our responsibility because we’re dealing with college students here. They did everything we asked for this year. Most of our tall, tall group was vaccinated. We talked at length about how big this new spike is and all the precautions we need to take.

“Definitely being at home after recess, we’ve talked about it for a long time, and now that we’re in Southern California, with the exposure we’re having here, we have to be really smart. We’ve talked about all of that, our boys who I think are in there right now, so we’ll continue to be as vigilant as we can. ” Will Omicron have an impact on the Rose Bowl? The Utes say they are taking precautions to ensure ‘Grandaddy of Them All’ is not at risk

Beth Allcock

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