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Spring Football is Coming and it has meaning for many different reasons

What spring football means for AD’s, coaches, players and fans

Miami v North Carolina State Photo by Lance King/Getty Images

It’s March 1st and the University of Miami Athletic Department finally announced the spring schedule (after I began writing that they hadn’t yet...). The spring schedule starts March 21st and wraps up April 22nd at Boca Raton High School. The usual spring game has been cancelled which is strange, but there will still be a scrimmage (what’s the difference?) and not a whole lot of open to the public access to the program.

Across the country, spring football practices have started, or will soon, usually sandwiched around spring break. With some exciting Early Enrollees, the first quarterback competition in a couple of years and a hype train surrounding Miami’s dominating finish to the 2016 season, spring football can serve many purposes for the season ahead. Here we will look at what spring football can mean for AD’s, coaches, players and fans.


For admin this is a chance to put their product on the market. For Ohio State, Florida, Oklahoma and Texas- sold out spring games are ESPN material to create hype and sell season tickets for the upcoming season. It’s good, even if silly, press to sellout a spring game and show which program has the most rabid fans. Spring football is a lot about marketing the program for them and showing off new uniforms, stadium upgrades, improved concessions, or a new coach/star player that can build ticket sales and booster donations. Miami chose not to have one, and it’s really baffling considering the ship was nearly sunk between that Coker/LSU game, Shannon’s everything, and Golden’s beatdown via Clemson. Not to mention Richt’s 4 game skid versus some big time opponents in ND, FSU, NC, and VT... the admin should be doing ANYTHING to market this program to fans.


For coaches, spring football serves as the start of a new season. The on-field staff will get a chance to get back to basics. Spring begins in shorts and t-shirts and the fundamentals are preached again. Simple but extremely important tackling and blocking circuits, turnover circuits, day one indy drills are all part of spring football. Coaches can ignore game plans and fix the issues they saw in the smaller details like hands, feet, stance, alignments etc that are hard to harp on while installing a new game plan every week.

For coordinators, it’s a chance to re-install your base formations, personnel groups, and plays that will be the foundation of the playbook. What will Miami install as their base offense? Last spring it was 21 personnel, I-formation, with power and zone lead being staples. On defense it was a 4-3 and 4-2-5 with quarters coverage. Coach Richt tore the D apart at times with pass combos off his zone lead play-action to Chris Herndon IV in the flat and Herndon catching the stick option route. This is also a chance to separate guys into a depth chart and figure out who can play on the field and who can only look good in the weight room.

Who will step up in the new openings and who will slide down the list? It’s a great time for in-gear competition and while scrimmages and spring games are controlled environments (no contact on the QB, sometimes there’s red zone, 2 min, 4 min and -5 drills even), there is that pressure to produce in front of a crowd.

In the world of off-season strength and speed programs you design your program around when spring football will take place. Without getting too complicated, mesocycles and periodization are established around spring ball and spring break. When S&C coaches pull back during ‘contact periods’ they’ll amp back up after the spring game.


For players spring football can be a welcome break from the monotony of the strength and speed program and gives you the chance to do what you love- play football. Competitions that start with effort and output in the weight room progress into the spring practices. It’s a chance for you to separate yourself from the pack while learning the playbook. For a guy at a position like QB, WR, and DB at Miami- you’ll try to become “the man” replacing the departing stars like Brad Kaaya, Stacy Coley, and Corn Elder.

Along the offensive line it will be more about holding onto your spot with an athletic transfer like Brown getting his chance to play with the 1’s and newcomers like Navaughn Donaldson stepping in to steal a job from struggling returning players like KC McDermott and Nick Linder.

The ‘Canes have a well documented QB competition down in Coral Gables between Jack Allison, Malik Rosier, Cade Weldon, Evan Shirreffs, and Vincent Testaverde in the spring... and N’Kosi Perry will come in and compete in May. And at Wide Receiver there’s a hole to replace Mr. Coley with a ton of bodies on campus we’ve mentioned on SOTU in previous articles, plus the EE’s and incoming freshman studs.

Side note: often, coaches like to set up spring football to have a teaching week in pads, then send kids off with a playbook. When they get back, it’s live action and you either spent spring break on the beach with girls or learning the book.


For us fans, this is our chance to break up our own monotony called the off-season. There’s a horrible lull after national signing day until fall camp gets under way (unless you’re an NFL Draft weirdo) that is broken up by spring football- as vanilla as the practices and games often are. I can’t deny that I have always attended either Miami or UCF’s spring game and will be in attendance at Oregon’s this year.

Luckily, there’s no ‘what scheme will Miami run this year’ conversation. Instead, we get to see the depth chart play itself out and any arguments about ‘who should be the QB’ solved or pushed into the off-season. We can see if the quarterback run game will really become a part of the offense and if RPO’s will be the thing of Hurricane-future.

Also- who doesn’t like getting a little bit of the high of fall football in April?