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There’s A Drawback To Having Televised Spring Games

Why all the interest in spring games?

When the offense looks good, couldn’t it mean that the defense is bad?  Can fans know when an offensive coordinator is actually trying to put up points… and when he’s just trying to get a left guard’s handling of a specific play on film?  To the fans it’s a game, but to the coaches it’s a practice.

Yet spring games have become a staple of April television.  And that’s especially true in the SEC:

Florida’s spring game — Tomorrow, 12pm ET, Sun Network

South Carolina’s spring game — Tomorrow, 1pm ET (

LSU’s spring game — Tomorrow, 4pm ET, ESPN

Mississippi State’s spring game — Tomorrow, 6pm ET, CSS

Georgia’s spring game — April 16th, 1pm ET, CSS

Tennessee’s spring game — April 16th, 2pm ET

Alabama’s spring game — April 16th, 3pm ET, ESPNU

Arkansas’ spring game — April 16th, 3pm ET, ESPN

Auburn’s spring game — April 16th, 3pm ET, CSS

Ole Miss’ spring game — April 16th, 5pm ET (tape delay on CSS)

Vanderbilt’s spring game — April 17th, 7pm ET

Kentucky’s spring game — April 23rd, 3pm ET

Seven of the league’s 12 spring games will carried live on television.  One more will be tape delayed.  And another will air live on the internet.

But there’s a tradeoff for that added exposure.  For one, the television networks want the action to look more like a game and less like a glorified practice.

“In the old days, you got more accomplished in the final practice,” Les Miles told The New Orleans Times-Picayune.  “You pointed specifics that you just had to get accomplished.  You could probably gone three practices in a week.  That’s the ideal, rather waste a practice dividing your teams and going through some of the specific issues that a team runs into when they divide the players for a competitive game.”

“Is it good,” the coach asked rhetorically.  “Yeah, I think it’s good.  I think our guys love playing on television.  It gives an air of a big game, and a want to play better.  I think it’s good.  I know our guys enjoy it.”

It’s just that coaches might be able to accomplish even more if that final practice of spring weren’t geared toward a television audience.


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