Spring Football Kicks Off
College teams around the country dust off the helmets for workouts
Spring football was once upon a time thought as a burden that didn’t provide a lot of impact towards what we would see on the field come September. Coaches and programs have since grown to understand the importance of these workouts and with so much on the line, every opportunity to get on the field and practice is a must.
We skip around the land to check in on teams who have begun their allotted 15 practices, looking at coaching changes, position battles, and improving off momentum from 2015.
“It’s great to be back out here on the practice field throwing it around,” said senior quarterback Baker Mayfield, Sporting News’ 2015 national player of the year. “I tell you what, it beats the heck out of doing workouts early in the morning.”
Asked how this year’s spring season is going to differ from last year’s, Mayfield, who was locked in a three-way battle for the starting spot until last August, quickly answered.
“It’s a completely different spring for me competition wise,” he said.
“There’s not as much pressure. I know I have my spot, but that doesn’t mean I can be satisfied. My thing is about working out the minor details, and that’s what we talked about; making everyone around me better and taking care of my business.”
Also different is the fact that the OU offense has a year of experience in coordinator Lincoln Riley’s system. Even though last season was Riley’s first in Norman, the Sooners ranked fourth nationally in scoring (43.5 ppg) and seventh in yards per game (530.2).
From an offensive standpoint, Stoops said Saturday’s practice was completely different than OU’s first practice last spring.
“It’s like night and day,” said Stoops. “We’re faster, crisper, can rifle through plays faster just because guys are so familiar with them. I really believe we have a great opportunity to make a big jump offensively this year.”
That’s saying something, considering the Sooners accounted for more than 500 yards of offense in each of the final seven regular season games last year, and three of the top five single-game yardage totals of the Stoops era were recorded a season ago.
There were no footballs flying inside Florida State’s indoor practice facility on Thursday afternoon.
No formations, no routes – nothing that much resembled football.
But the Seminoles believe that what they did Thursday, and what they’ve been doing for the last few weeks, is a key part of every season: the annual “Fourth Quarter” conditioning drills.
For about an hour the Seminoles ran, jumped and sweated their way through a field-spanning circuit designed to give them an edge come crunch time this fall. They’ve been at it since mid-February and wrap up on Friday.
“This has nothing to do with ability,” FSU coach Jimbo Fisher said. “The intangibles you get out of this are not the things God blessed you with. These are the things (where) you’ve got to learn, as I say, the grind of football that allows you to have a chance to be successful.
“It was a very necessary month, for sure.”
BYU football opened spring practices Tuesday morning, giving new and returning players the chance to work with head coach Kalani Sitake and the new coaching staff.
“It was fun. It was cool because I was able to look at both sides of the ball and help out on the little things. You try to pick apart what things could be better as a head coach trying to see what we could do differently. From the offensive and defensive side, I was so used to being more involved and coaching a lot more that this was nice to be able to manage the team and try to see what we could do time-wise. Not as much hands-on as I’d like to be, but we’ll get there eventually.”