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Random Thoughts From Around the Country: Spring College Football Tease

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Alabama Spring Football is Coming!

NCAA Football: Alabama Spring Game
Jalen Hurts will return.
Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

It’s been almost two months since the final second ticked off the clock in Tampa. The page has turned and a new chapter begins.

SPRING FOOTBALL

For whatever reason, Duke is already done with spring practice. They held their Spring Game on Saturday. The fans fan groundskeeper thoroughly enjoyed himself.

Lovie Smith is trying something different at Illinois. They had an open scrimmage on Saturday but will follow up with their final three spring practices from March 7-10 with no game. I don’t think it went over very well.

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NEW GUYS

Ten schools open spring practice this week. Four of these teams are debuting new head coaches. Coincidentally, three of them played a little coaching tag back in December:

  • Texas fired Charlie Strong and he went to South Florida.
  • Houston coach Tom Herman replaced Strong at Texas.
  • Former Texas QB and OC Major Applewhite moved up from Houston OC to head coach.

These three and Cincinnati’s Luke Fickell hit the fields on Monday. Also starting were Alabama opening opponent Florida State, Boise State, Oklahoma State, Rice, UTEP and UTSA.

START DATES

Although Alabama has yet to announced their first spring practice date, you can probably expect it to be sometime between March 20-25. Alabama Spring Break starts this Friday, ruling out next week. Below are the start dates of practices and Spring Game dates of SEC teams, Bama opponents and a few others of interest:

Alabama - TBA - April 22
Arkansas - March 28 - April 29
Auburn - Feb. 28 - April 8
Clemson - March 1 - April 8
Colorado State - March 21 - April 22
Florida - Feb. 28 - April 7
FAU! - March 21 - April 22
Florida State - March 6 - April 8
Fresno State - March 27 - April 29
Georgia - TBA - April 22
Kentucky - March 5 - April 14
LSU - March 11 - April 22
Michigan - March 24 - April 15
Mississippi State - March 9 - April 8
Missouri - March 7 - April 15
Navy - March 20 - April 14
Notre Dame - March 8 - April 22
Ohio State - March 7 - April 15
Oklahoma - March 21 - April 8
Ole Miss - Feb. 28 - April 8
Oregon - April 3 - April 29
South Alabama - March 3 - April 8
South Carolina - Feb. 25 - April 1
Southern Cal - March 7 - April 15
Tennessee - March 21 - April 22
Texas - March 6 - April 15
Texas A&M - March 1 - April 8
UAB - Feb. 23 - April 1
Vanderbilt - Feb. 27 - March 25

A'Shawn block PAT

RULES

The NCAA Football Rules Committee put their heads together in Indianapolis last week and came back with three major recommended changes to the game:

  1. Prohibit defensive players from jumping over offensive linemen on field goal and point-after-touchdown attempts. Great job guys! This is SO needed because SO many players get hurt when this happens. How dare 300-lbs players be athletic!
  2. Require players to wear knee pads and pants that cover the knees. I cannot understand why this became cool/fashionable among the players. Seriously, dudes. You need to protect your knees. You can look cool after you retire from the NFL in 12-14 years.
  3. Including the nameplate area of the jersey in the current horse-collar tackle rule. I’m thinking they need to get REAL specific on what they are talking about here. We don’t need more grey-area officiating like what the controversial targeting call has created. Personally, I think the rule is fine as it is.

For some unexplained reason, the NCAA only changes rules every two years. This is a non-rule-change year for football, but changes directly related to health and safety are allowed. The above are only recommendations. The Playing Rules Oversight Panel will meet on April 19 to discuss.

Also of note, the committee extended the experimental rule of allowing conferences to continue using a collaborative approach to instant replay for another season.

ICYMI

  • When it rains in Oxford, it pours. Ole Miss released 2017 signee Taekion Reed from his Letter of Intent after he was arrested on charges of burglary of about a dozen firearms from a dwelling. Three unnamed juveniles have also been arrested in the incident. The three-star DT made headlines of a different sort last month when the former Mississippi State commitment tossed aside a Bulldogs hat on NSD to put on an Ole Miss one. Classy.
  • Crimson Tide WR Raheem Falkins has apparently been granted permission to transfer to another program. He can join any team except another SEC school or any Alabama non-conference opponent over the next two seasons - except for Mercer. He has two years to play one season after taking a medical redshirt in 2015.
  • You may have noticed on the form that Falkins sent out on social media that Southern Miss was listed instead of UL Lafayette. I wonder if anyone told the Ragin’ Cajuns?
  • Former Alabama running back Derrick Gore has joined the Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks.