Missouri defensive backs coach Charlie Harbison did not coach against Alabama on Saturday and will also be out for the team’s Week 2 game on the road against Tennessee, the program confirmed prior to the Tigers’ season opener Saturday.


Harbison’s absence is coronavirus-related. Defensive quality control assistant Grant O’Brien is temporarily taking over his coaching responsibilities.


Nicknamed "Coach Cheese" by players and fellow coaches, Harbison came to Missouri from Appalachian State this offseason.


His primary focus is with the outside linebackers and boundary safeties.


"I got a text message at 6:34 Friday morning and it alerted me that we had some positive tests from the COVID on Thursday," Missouri head coach Eli Drinkwitz said after Saturday’s loss to Alabama when asked about Harbison’s absence. "We immediately made phone calls to all the positives cases, and then began our contact tracing. ... With COVID, you don't know.


"We take another test tomorrow. I'll get the results sometime Monday. We'll make an adjustment there. We take another test Tuesday. I'll get the results Wednesday. I'll make another adjustment there. We take a test Thursday. I'll get the results Friday morning at 6;34 and I'll make an another adjustment there. There's no magic formula to it. We just wake up every day and then deal with the results."


Harbison has nearly three decades of college and NFL coaching experience, with previous stops coming with the Arizona Cardinals, Clemson, LSU and Saturday’s opponent, Alabama.


Harbison, 61, is the first coach at Missouri publicly known to miss a game or practice because of COVID-19.


eblum@columbiatribune.com