Football spring training has sprung (maybe a leak)

They used to say there are only two seasons in the South – football and spring football – but if that’s the case, one of those is a season of rampant speculation, endless message board postings and over analysis of player development.

Come to think of it … both seasons are actually like that.

Most college spring trainings have come and gone and most high school spring trainings are about to begin. Both are necessary, at least to some degree. But spring games? Not so much.

For college football, the 15 days of practice are probably more important than ever with the influx of early enrolling high school seniors and transfer portal pickups. Gone are the days when you just went back out there three months after the season was over with everybody who didn’t have “Sr.” written by their name in the program.

The problem isn’t the 15 days of practice; it’s the 1 day of game.

Granted, it does provide excitement for the fans, who haven’t had much to cheer about since a bowl game named for a fruit or a concept. Recruiting season fills the void for about 20 minutes, but fans love to turn these three spring game hours into an entire summer of speculation as to who might start at deep snapper.

To make matters worse, some coaches insist on these goofy five-points-for-solo-tackle spring games in which the offense “plays” the defense. There is no one worse at this than new LSU coach Brian Kelly, who has brought an idea that never caught on at Notre Dame down to LSU.

Apparently, the LSU offense covered the spread against the defense by winning 59-31 in a game so riveting that they ended it midway through the fourth quarter.

Here is the list of things you need to know about a spring game:

  1. Did anyone get hurt?
  2. See above.

Don’t try to read anything into a spring game. If a running back has a good quarter, it doesn’t mean he’s ready to start. Perhaps he stunk in all 15 practices, which is much more important in coaches’ evaluations.

As for high school spring training, there has been a movement that last few years to eliminate it. It wouldn’t be the worst idea except for this – it might be better to find out who really wants to play in the spring than having them go through the entire summer and then after the third August practice, he decides he’d rather be playing Fortnite. It’s better for him and better for the team to find that out in May.

High school spring training has been stripped down to almost nothing anyway. It’s not like anybody needs time to install the Houston Veer. Most offensive development can be done with 7-on-7 games these days; not a whole lot of bull-in-the-ring drills are being run.

Like Blockbuster, spring training could go away and nobody would miss it. Except the guy who wants to post his thoughts on the four-deep depth chart.