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Spring football gives a taste of what's to come in the fall
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North Hall senior Dylon Truelove gets off the line during practice on Thursday at North Hall High. - photo by Jared Putnam

Spring football is just as important as a high school coach wants it to be. Even though it’s good to get as many players in uniform for evaluation as much as possible, it’s up for debate whether it has to be done at the end of the calendar school year to yield any better results.

So, if the Georgia High School Association adapts a new plan providing more flexibility for practice starting next year, it may be the end of traditional spring football across the board as has become so customary through the years.

Schools use different dates during the month to conduct practice, and are flexible in format for an intrasquad spring football scrimmage.

The plan floated by the GHSA, according to North Hall coach Bob Christmas, would allow for coaches for forego entirely the 10 spring practice sessions in exchange for an extra scrimmage date. If that’s the case, it’s something he’d give serious consideration.

Christmas knows that the players enjoy getting to practice during the spring and work on specific training, but he doesn’t necessarily think they are activities that wouldn’t be achieved just as effectively during the summer.

Part of Christmas’ willingness to take a new route is his knowledge that the team will spend the majority of the summer conditioning together and from there go straight into pads in August.

The prospect of playing two scrimmage games sounds like a pretty favorable tradeoff for Christmas at North Hall, which coming off a 2012 trip to the Class AAA state semifinals.

Another point to consider is available player personnel. This spring, the Trojans are without all three varsity quarterbacks, all still active with the school’s baseball program.

“For us, spring football is not that critical,” Christmas said.

Gainesville coach Bruce Miller isn’t quite as eager to find a new way to do things in the spring. The coach of the 2012 state champion Red Elephants sees the value of taking stock early in different positions on the field that need to be strengthened and players that have a skill set more favorable to one position over another.

In addition to that, spring football tends to keep the enthusiasm high for the upcoming season that is just three months away.

“Spring football is really important just to get back into football mode,” Miller said. “Once we finish, we take two weeks off, then get back to work during the summer.”

Gainesville’s coach has been very busy this spring with commitments ranging from speaking engagements across the southeast to entertaining the who’s who of college football coaches, all coming to campus to see senior Deshaun Watson, the nation’s top-ranked high school quarterback.

West Hall coach Tony Lotti is still on the fence as to whether doing away with spring football in the future is a good idea. The Spartans wrapped up spring practice with a football festival last Thursday. Lotti anticipates the GHSA adopting the new plan over the summer.

The Spartans’ second-year coach would hesitate to sacrifice the two-week May practice session in the future, which keeps from having such a big bridge in football activity from the end of the previous season to summer practice.

However, he says it’s hard to totally discount the advantage of playing two scrimmages in August, even though it does come with a heightened risk of injury leading into Week 1 of the regular season.

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