Monday, October 29, 2012
Big East teams scramble as Sandy approaches
By Matt Fortuna
Hurricane Sandy has forced two-day class cancellations at three Big East schools, with Connecticut still awaiting word on a Tuesday decision.
Rutgers, Syracuse and Temple all canceled classes Monday and Tuesday, leaving their football programs' weekly preparations up in the air.
"Preparation-wise we are absolutely in a flat scramble right now," Owls coach Steve Addazio said during Monday's Big East coaches teleconference. "Trying to get our game plan together, our practice together -- we're supposed to practice in the morning but because there's no school tomorrow we've got to wait and see. So if anything, best-case scenario would be later in the day. And then we've got to piggy-back Wednesday. We come back in the morning because of our class schedule, no morning practice, so we've got to get ready for two in a row.
"I've never been in a situation where you couldn't get a Tuesday practice in, so that would be unchartered water for me, but that certainly is a possibility."
Doug Marrone had not heard the Orange's status yet when speaking on Monday morning's call, and UConn coach Paul Pasqualoni was hopeful his program would be able to resume normal activities by Tuesday afternoon.
The Scarlet Knights have a bye week and coach Kyle Flood has already canceled Tuesday's practice. Rutgers deflated the bubble of its indoor facility and is hoping its players can review film and exercise Tuesday afternoon before resuming practice Wednesday.
Addazio recalled a similar situation from his days as a Syracuse assistant 14 years ago, but he has never been in a situation quite like this one.
"You couldn't even drive in the street, the streets were blocking all the roads," Addazio said. "We ended up getting our practice in but it was very disruptive. My concern, this would be the first time there's a legitimate possibility that we won't get our practice in, and so I don't have an answer for how we're going to handle it other than whatever it is, you deal with it and you find the positive in whatever the situation is.
"But I have no experience in not having that first -- it's a Tuesday this week -- but whenever that first real full-padded day is, because Wednesday you're too late in the week to start having contact. Who knows? Maybe you don't go Tuesday, the next thing you know, you're a little fresher? I don't know. I don't worry about it. We're going to prep Tuesday's practice, prep Wednesday's practice -- what we get done we get done."
The NCAA issued a statement Monday saying it will cooperate with affected schools:
"The NCAA is actively working with member institutions in the wide path of Hurricane Sandy to ensure that the needs of student-athletes are met before, during and after the storm. Our top priority is the safety of our student-athletes and staff at our member institutions, and we stand ready to assist as needed. During natural disasters, the NCAA routinely gives flexibility to institutions and conferences to help them quickly provide necessary assistance and resources that may include meals or other benefits, relocating teams and rescheduling games. We stand ready to do so today and as the storm continues ashore."