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Gazette Premium Content Air Force football not finished with shutdown-related uncertainty

By Brent Briggeman Updated: October 5, 2013 at 5:21 pm

ANNAPOLIS, Md. - While some of his teammates were on Twitter and checking sites online throughout the week to see if Air Force's game was on or off, Nick Fitzgerald took a more low-key approach.

"Honestly, I wasn't even online or calling," the Falcons defensive lineman said. "Anything I heard, I heard from a coach. We were planning like we were playing Saturday and that was not a big problem for us."

The government shutdown nearly forced the game to be called off, but it was eventually salvaged in large part because of a $230,000 gift from United Services Automobile Association.

But that wasn't the end to the uncertainty.

Just before the team's flight Thursday the Falcons learned that, in addition to the myriad furloughed administration and information personnel, equipment and training staff members would not be making the trip.

The workaround on the training staff was to find three local replacements, including the Baltimore-based brother of Air Force director of sports medicine Lt. Col. Gerald McGinty.

Equipment issues were handled with scattered help from various resources.

Air Force refused to use any of the week's drama - only some of which was shared by Navy, which didn't travel - as an excuse.

"Whatever the guidance is, whatever the orders are, that's what we're going to do," coach Troy Calhoun said. "Our guys, that's what they're trained to do. They worked hard and prepared."

The situation becomes no clearer. As of now, Thursday night's scheduled game against San Diego State will not take place. That could change, with Air Force officials working even on the sidelines of Saturday's game to find a way to make it happen.

The one advantage to this coming week over this past one - no more midterms.

"School was tough this week," quarterback Karson Roberts said. "There were obviously some issues."

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