Tuesday, April 8, 2014
Take Two: Spring game -- yes or no?
By Jake Trotter
Welcome back to Take Two Tuesday, where we give our opinions on a burning question in the league.
Today's Take Two topic: Should college football programs still hold spring games?
Take 1: Brandon Chatmon -- No
There are plenty of pros for holding a spring game, from fan interest to recruiting draw, it’s an annual tradition that people look forward to attending.
Fans love to watch the spring game, but is it time to rethink whether or not it is really the best thing for the program?
Yet it’s seen better days.
Paranoia runs rampant among coaches who are worried about other schools gaining valuable information about their programs, vanilla offenses make the actual action tough to watch for football-hungry fans and a season-changing injury is one play away.
That’s why it’s time to move on from the traditional spring game.
Because, simply put, holding a spring game is not the best way to prepare a team for the upcoming season. Spring practice time is valuable. Just like flowers begin to show signs of their eventual beauty during this time, young players often start to show signs of their eventual impact during these months.
The 15-practice limit makes each opportunity for a team and individual players to improve like gold. Instead of a spring game, an actual practice and/or closed scrimmage is more likely to provide the coaches and players real answers about their potential roles in the fall.
Is the spring game great for the fans, media, boosters and family members alike? Absolutely.
Is the spring game what’s best for the team that will take the field in the fall? Absolutely not.
Take 2: Jake Trotter -- Yes
I agree that the paranoia surrounding spring games has rendered them to vanilla vessels of their former past.
But having a spring game is better than the alternative of not having one. It’s better for morale, better for more momentum and, most importantly, better for the fans, who are the backbone of any successful program.
The gap between the final bowl game and the season opener is painfully long for the passionate college football fan. The spring game gives an intermission to the wait. A chance to check out for the first time the freshmen that redshirted last season. Or the new hotshot transfer. Or the quarterback derby. Anymore, practices are pretty much closed to the public in the fall. Most of them are closed in the spring, too. The spring game is the one opportunity fans get to watch their favorite teams in person without having to shell out $100 for tickets and $20 for parking.
But pleasing and engaging the fans isn’t the only advantage to holding a spring game.
Playing in front of thousands of fans gives the young players a preview of playing on Saturdays in the fall will be like. There’s no substitute for that, no matter what the practice format might be behind the scenes.
The spring game can also be an awesome opportunity to gather recruits on campus to give them a taste of what the program is all about. There’s a reason why the spring game is one of the biggest recruiting days on the calendar.
Coaches might disagree about the pros of a spring game outweighing the cons. They don’t want to divulge schemes or tendencies. That’s understandable, though a bit paranoid. That paranoia shouldn’t overshadow a spring game’s many advantages.