Monday, February 24, 2014
Spring has sprung in the Pac-12
By Kyle Bonagura
Today marks the Vernal Equinox in the world of Pac-12 football. Yes, it's officially the start of spring football.
Stanford, which was last seen on the football field just last month in the Rose Bowl, kicks things off for the conference with Arizona and Washington joining the fray next week. For Pac-12 purposes, the spring season runs until May 3, when the Oregon schools hold their spring games.
The Cardinal's approach to spring practice is a bit unique when compared with the other 11 in the conference. First, the school doesn't allow early enrollees, so outside of any potential on-campus walk-ons, there aren't any new players to add to the mix. It's a university policy, not a football one, but coach David Shaw has spoken at length about how he's in agreement with the stance.
Shaw said the Stanford curriculum isn't designed for freshmen to have staggered starts to their academic careers and believes it's good for incoming players to keep any spring commitments they have at their high schools.
After two weeks of practice, the Cardinal will take a break before the second session begins later in March. By the time the spring game is played on April 12, Stanford will have had the longest start-to-finish spring schedule in the conference.
Conversely, Washington State coach Mike Leach, like most coaches in the conference, doesn't like to break things up.
WSU starts is spring practice on March 27 and will go regularly until its spring game in Spokane on April 26. Leach is of the opinion that if spring practice is broken up, players can lose focus and need time to re-acclimate after any potential breaks.