The words “federal government shutdown’’ never even entered into Steve Addazio’s football-centric vocabulary. Not before this week, anyway.
“Yesterday I heard it for the first time, and I was like, ‘Huh? What?’ ” the Boston College coach said after walking off the field Wednesday morning at Alumni Stadium, where his Eagles went about their business of preparing for Saturday’s game against Army, even though it is in jeopardy of being canceled or postponed because of the government shutdown.
BC athletic director Bill Bates, who is at Atlantic Coast Conference meetings in Raleigh, N.C., said BC even extended an offer of financial assistance for Army to travel to Chestnut Hill.
“We have been told by officials at the US Military Academy, however, that this is not solely a financial decision,’’ Bates said Wednesday. “I remain in close communication with Army AD Boo Corrigan and we expect a decision will be made by noon tomorrow.’’
On Tuesday, the Department of Defense suspended all intercollegiate athletic events at the service academies, putting in peril the BC-Army game as well as Navy’s home game against Air Force.
Addazio, meanwhile, is attempting to tune out all the noise and keep his team focused on its preparation.
“Quite honestly, I haven’t even addressed it with the team,’’ Addazio said. “I’m planning on playing Saturday. And I’m not trying to play, like, mind games. We’re playing on Saturday. We’re rolling. So I haven’t even addressed it, because we’re playing on Saturday.’’
BC quarterback Chase Rettig echoed those sentiments.
“We really have no control over the whole game situation,’’ said Rettig. “We’re just going to keep preparing as hard as we can and watch film and do everything we can outside of practice to get ready. That’s just what we have to do on a weekly basis and that’s just part of the grind of the season.’’
Although Army was forced to cancel a men’s soccer game against Long Island Tuesday night and a women’s soccer match against Colgate Wednesday night, football coach Rich Ellerson said his team has gone about its business as usual, conducting practices Tuesday and Wednesday morning.
“We expect to play,’’ Ellerson said by phone Wednesday from West Point, N.Y. “We’ve got our heads down, working hard. The guys know there’s something going on, but as you well know, this place keeps you pretty well occupied. You don’t have a lot of time to sit around the water cooler and talk politics.”
The Black Knights (2-3), who amassed a season-high 414 rushing yards in last weekend’s 35-18 victory over Louisiana Tech in Dallas, were bracing themselves for another punishing, physical confrontation at BC.
The Eagles (2-2, 1-1 ACC) suffered a stinging 34-31 loss at West Point last year, despite getting a then-career-high 196 yards rushing from Andre Williams. Last Saturday, Williams eclipsed the 2,000-yard career mark by rushing 28 times for 149 yards in a 48-34 loss to No. 8 Florida State.
Asked how the team was able to block out all the distractions, Williams said, “It’s crazy that a political situation is really having an effect on the season, but it’s another distraction just like anything else that can come up. You just have to keep preparing like you’re going to come out Saturday and play a great game.’’
Michael Vega can be reached at email@example.com.