It was a question that just had to be asked.
Steve Addazio didn’t know the answer, and truly he didn’t really care. Ultimately it was his decision, and the players would just have to deal with the ramifications.
When the Eagles gathered in the team meeting room on the second floor of the Yawkey Center for their annual media day on Tuesday, the potentially uncomfortable question had to be asked:
So, how do you feel about not having your names on the backs of your jerseys?
“I was waiting for somebody to ask about that,” Andre Williams said, laughing. “Honestly, people were sighing about it but I think that with how classic the BC uniform looks anyway, taking the names off kinda makes us look a little more rugged.”
The Eagles will be the only ACC team to go nameless in 2013, in an effort to foster a team-first atmosphere. They held their first scrimmage of fall camp on Saturday morning, three weeks before the season opener against Villanova.
On Monday, the Eagles have their first two-a-day session of camp. They will have another two-a-day on Wednesday, with single practice sessions Tuesday, Thursday and Friday ahead of the second scrimmage on Saturday, Aug. 17.
Alex Amidon made a name for himself as a junior in 2012, with team records for catches (78) and receiving yards (1,210) in a single season.
Surely he would want fans to be able to identify him by more than his number.
“Actually I like that,” Amidon said of removing the names from the jerseys. “[It’s] kinda just emphasizing one of [Addazio’s] main coaching points: Team. Because that’s how we’re gonna win games, teamwork and toughness, stuff like that.
“And that’s one of the things, if you don’t have names on the back of your jerseys you’re less inclined to be selfish. So it’s not about you. It’s about BC, it’s about the name on the front of the jersey, not the back. I like that.”
While Boston College doesn’t actually wear its name on the front of its jersey, Amidon’s point is still well taken.
Steele Divitto is a no-nonsense kind of guy, so surely he wouldn’t mince words on the subject. And after initially saying he didn’t have an opinion on the matter, his demeanor suggesting he couldn’t care less one way or the other, he delivered.
“I know some guys don’t like it, but the bottom line is we’re trying to develop a team,” he said. “Everybody on the same playing field. Egos out the door. It’s not really about yourself -- it’s about BC, it’s not about Divitto. Every little thing helps.”
Who the guys are who don’t like the move, we may never know. It would be a bold (read: potentially foolhardy) move to publicly question Addazio’s decision, especially since it’s framed as one to remove concern for the individual and replace it with concern for the team.
Besides, Williams said, it’s not like players need their names on their jerseys for fans to know who they are.
With a confident smile spreading across his face, Williams said: “They’re gonna know who I am as soon as the game starts.”
Jack McCluskey is an editor for ESPN.com and a frequent contributor to ESPNBoston.com. Follow him on Twitter @jack_mccluskey.