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Why Don’t College Football Teams Practice Against Other Teams During Spring Ball?

BYU coach Kalani Sitake watches his team scrimmage during spring game in Provo on Saturday, March 23, 2019. (Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The short answer is because the NCAA doesn’t allow it, or at least that is what a current Athletic Director told me.

It is a shame that the NCAA prevents college football teams from the ability to practice against other college football teams in the Spring. Spring Football is a drag, it takes a lot of effort from both the coaching staff and the playing group and can be mentally and physically fatiguing for everyone involved.

Spring football is important for the young players on a roster who are hoping to prove their worth ahead of summer conditioning and fall camp. In fact, every year, young players around the country set themselves up for success for the years to come in spring. It is their opportunity to showcase their skillset in front of the coaching staff while the most seasoned veterans stand on the sidelines and watch from afar.

Sizzle Up Spring

Without question, Spring football is a necessity and by no means am I under the opinion that Spring football needs to go away.

I do, however, feel as though that Spring football could be far more beneficial than it is.

The season is still many long and hot months away. The drive and excitement surrounding the season are yet to sink in, rather, the previous season is still prevalent in the minds of the athletes.

A lot of good work comes to fruition during the spring months. Coaches can get a better understanding of their personnel and players that often are placed on practice squads or developmental teams finally have a chance to compete with all eyes of the coaching staff on them.

But Spring, ever for the younger and less experienced players, can be a grueling grind. If the NCAA allowed teams to practice against other teams during spring, much like the NFL does during their preseason, it would provide a much-needed energy boost for all programs involved.

Even as a former punter, the thought of going against another punter during practice who isn’t a teammate of mine would get me ready and far more excited to prove my worth every day.

Competing against teammates has its benefits. But when an opposing team is on the other side of the ball it brings more out of players. Subconsciously you are more likely to compete harder as opposed to competing against your teammates every day.

Can you imagine Utah State coming down to Salt Lake City for a week and going toe-to-toe with the Utes? The two teams will not meet each other in 2021, it’s not like they have to be worried about Utah State stealing their play calls. The two teams will never play each other in 2021, so what is the concern?

Fear Amongst Coaches

The concern is that college coaches all talk to one and another. One of the biggest issues in today’s college football world is the constant fear that other teams will get an insight into the playbook. Opposing teams stealing play signals and using it against you.

It is ludicrous, it is the year 2021 and the billion-dollar industry of college football still hasn’t implemented a speaker into the quarterback’s helmet.

For now, college teams around the country will continue to do everything they can to make Spring football more interesting and productive. But the time is ticking, the NCAA needs to act and help further the development of the game. Allowing teams to practice against other teams is a solution that will offer a short and long-term fix.

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