For most of the college football world the Spring Games have come and gone. Spring practice is the time of year where unending optimism runs wild across the country. I'm not sure if the optimism is more rampant on the actual campuses or with the fans that have absolutely no affiliation to the University that they have proclaimed as their favorite. You know what I am talking about the big homers that have never set foot on a college campus for anything more than to attend a game but proclaim themselves the biggest fan of their respective school, or my favorite they havn't spent one day in an institution of higher learning other than maybe the local barber college or clown university. These are the ones that havn't played a down of football since pop warner and when they played then they were the kid drinking up all the gatorade on the side line, but didn't have to wash their uniform the whole season because it never once got dirty, but are all the sudden the most knowledgable football fan on the block. These are the fans that the spring games are for because it is my belief that the spring games actually do very little to help a football team prepare for the upcoming season other than to help the guys stay in some kind of semblence of good shape.
Yeah some teams try to sort out position battles during the spring. Some use the spring to get redshirted players and early entrants reps to see if they will be able to help contribute to the team the upcoming season. It may be a chance to see how a player who was injured the previous season is recovering from his time on the mend. As far as the actual returning players who contributed to the team the season prior it just a little bit better than useless. The one situation where spring practice might be a lot more than useless is when a new coaching staff is taking over a team such as the situations at a few of the Southeastern Conference schools like Auburn, Tennessee, and Mississippi State. For these 3 schools as well as several others across the country it is the chance to start implementing the new playbooks that the players are going to be using once the actual season has started. Its a chance for new coaching staff to evaluate the talent on hand so they can take their respective playbooks and find out what works well and what doesn't with the talent on hand.
For the fans though spring practice is the time of year when their team "really has a chance to do something this year", no matter how bad they may have been the year before. It's when more and more fans are trying to get any information they can on the progress their team is supposedly making. Nevermind the fact that they are just playing against each other. Seldom does any position battles get won in the spring. Often injuries happen because after two and half months of doing nothing these guys are thrown into practices which dilutes the talent available to be evaluated during the spring game. The funny thing is most teams begin their spring practices a week or two before spring break trying to get guys up to speed then after a week of non stop partying for these kids when they make their annual pilgramiges to Daytona Beach, Panama City, or South Padre Island, they come back and get thrown into full contact drills and scrimmages most of them can't remember what they even did the week before because of all the parties much less what they were taught two and three weeks before during practice. Then comes the game and even more hoopla about each and every program.
Some fans take to heart that during the spring game a particular player or squad was especially dominant. There is talk about how great the starting offense looked nevermind the fact that they were playing against the second team defense that was missing players because of academic reasons and injuries. Other fans talk about how great the first team defense was despite the fact they were playing against a bunch of redshirt freshman and early enrollees. Question is how much does the spring game and practices actually help the team? Does having the first team offense playing the second team defense help build the confidence of the offense by allowing them to execute plays that wouldn't have been otherwise possible against the starting defense? Does the second team offense getting pounded by the first team offense demorlize the subs to the point that they start to think they will never be contributors to the team. Does neither really happen and its just a chance for the school to make a little bit more money off of the fans by charging admission for the fans to see the games?
I'm interested in hearing everyone's opinions on this so tell me everyone, what do you think?