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Hugh Freeze Wants to Replace Spring Games With Scrimmages Against Other Teams

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The head man in Oxford doesn't like spring games as they currently stand.

Paul Abell-USA TODAY Sports

Spring practice is over for a lot of teams and winding down for the rest, but the topic of spring games is still a current issue. Hugh Freeze doesn't like how they currently work and wants to replace them:

"I would love to see us be able to scrimmage another team. That way you can go ones on ones, twos on twos, threes on threes – really get something out of it," Freeze recently told A to Z Sports on ESPN radio Nashville. "Maybe even adopt a charity. Maybe it's a 1-AA opponent that you don't play in the regular season. I think there would be a lot of interest in something like that. I wish we could do something like that." ...

"… I'm just not a fan of the public spring game that we're currently doing. The kids want you to divide up. The fans want you to divide up. Really, I'm not sure how much we get out of it. I know we don't get as much out of it if we just had another practice against each other. That's not really what everyone wants to see. So I kind of give into that."

Freeze is so high on the idea of intersquad spring scrimmages that he's going to bring it up as a discussion topic during the SEC's annual spring meetings.

He's probably just about the only coach who thinks this way, which is why I don't anticipate the idea to gain any wider support in Destin. Most coaches would rather just get rid of them, as they don't want to give future opponents insight into the year's plans and don't want players to get hurt.

Schools use them as a way to keep fans engaged during the offseason and sometimes have them as a fundraiser, but they aren't things that schools hold at all costs. Kentucky and Texas A&M aren't having spring games this year due to stadium renovations. They could have found replacement venues, but they cancelled them instead. Even Freeze doesn't like spring games, as evidenced by his quest to replace them with something else.

I tried to find something on the history of why we have spring games, but all I turned up was a history of spring practice from Smart Football. It's interesting, but it doesn't really address spring games specifically. Obviously they exist for the fans' benefit, since there really isn't a ton that teams get out of them. There's a reason why spring practice isn't a series of intrasquad scrimmages: there are more effective ways for coaches to teach and players to practice.

Given the mounting evidence for how destructive football is on the human body, I am not even sure I'd say that spring scrimmages are even a good idea. Hard hits are fact of football, but the future trend is heading towards limiting the number of hits that players take. The Ivy League and Pac-12 have already limited the amount of hitting that can go on in practice. Such limits will only become more common and more restrictive in the years to come.

With football's future being about the quantity of hitting coming down, it's hard to imagine intersquad scrimmages being anything other than touch football or flag football. With that being the case, I'd ask: what's the point? People already deride spring games for being boring in part because there aren't real hits on star players or on special teams. You don't need the expense of bringing in a I-AA team to run hit-less football because the backups and walk-ons can fill that role just fine.

The window for having worthwhile spring games between different teams will close soon if it hasn't already.