Put mildly, spring ball can sometimes become a labor of love for coaches.
“We got them back from spring break and tried to work the ‘fun’ out of them, gassers and squats,” one SEC assistant told me last week. “But that night was St. Patrick’s Day. Tuesday was like starting all over again. They were worthless.”
But there is value in the practices. For some, this particular spring is more important than it is elsewhere. At Texas and USC, for instance, new coaches are bringing their styles and systems to high-profile, visible college football hubs.
The Longhorns and Trojans lead our discussion of the five programs for which spring 2014 is the most critical (along with a handful of other programs facing critical springs).
These two are inseparable because they’re both big-name programs with new hires, ones that will be heavily analyzed and scrutinized in the coming months (and years). Though they share similarities, they are ultimately different cases.