Gators Legend Steve Spurrier Talks Realistic Readiness of College Football
A large portion of America is currently waiting out the ongoing pandemic caused by COVID-19, a virus which has impacted the entire world.
This can be said for any and all sports entertainment as well. Entire leagues have been practically shut down due to concerns over health and safety. This includes college football, and more specifically, spring practices.
Former Gators quarterback and head ball coach, Steve Spurrier recently spoke with SEC Analyst and sportscaster Paul Finebaum on his daily radio show and discussed a variety of topics, but specifically the potential 'readiness' of football teams devoid of spring practices, which for the SEC have been postponed indefinitely since March 13th. Spring football games have been cancelled.
"I think most all coaches will tell you that the staffs that been there for two or three, four years or more, it's not that big a deal not to have spring football," Spurrier said.
That experience rings true for the Florida Gators. Gators head coach Dan Mullen has now been with the Gators as their head coach for two full seasons now, and has already built a clear image of his team, a culture that exudes enthusiasm and confidence.
That much was made obvious during the team's pre-spring press conference when starting quarterback Kyle Trask made reference to the team being able to compete for the College Football Playoffs this season. Spurrier agrees that, save for a team with a new head coach or a team in need to an intense battle at quarterback or another key position group, spring is fine to miss.
These comments beg the question, however, how much time is needed to be prepared for the strenuous journey of a college football season? The old head ball coach believes about a "month" is all that's needed.
"If you could get a month in before you play, I think everybody would be certainly capable of playing,” said Spurrier. “Maybe not quite their best, but pretty close to playing the best they can."
While that may be true, the underlying issue is the general health of players. If the league starts too early and risks the player's health due to a lack of training or preparedness, there will be blow back, and a lot of it. The NCAA will eventually make the determination one way or another, but a deadline, or a timeline should not be set in stone - not at all.
Another issue, Spurrier believes, is the need for fans. If there are no fans in the stadiums at all if and when the season begins, what's the point?
"To me, that's why it's the greatest sport in the world because the fans talk about it year-round, it's a year-round subject. In college, you lose in basketball, baseball, some other sports and it's not that big [of] a deal, but you lose in football it's a one year deal."
He's right, college football is a year-round sport. Fans will congregate at places anytime there is something to talk about whether that be recruiting, or award shows, the fans will be there. A lack of fans during actual football games? That would not only be unheard of, but the feeling and competition which it would bring out of players wouldn't be healthy either.
Overall, Spurrier is certainly correct in that Florida or other colleges with established staffs may not be disadvantaged from the lack of a spring practice. At least not the same way new Mississippi State head football coach Mike Leach will be. If a month of practice and training is all that's needed for just under 100% readiness the many will be open to it, however the decision, or clock will not be up to the NCAA or collegiate teams, it'll be up to the virus.