High School Sports

April 28, 2013

Baxter: Spring training good for HS football crop

WHILE IT MAY not seem like it from the weather, spring is here and that means it’s time for football.

WHILE IT MAY not seem like it from the weather, spring is here and that means it’s time for football.

Spring practices begin Wednesday and, after a few days of acclimation in shorts, the hitting will begin in preparation for the season.

A friend of mine from Ohio expressed his frustration that his state doesn’t allow spring football practice. He said the reasons are: fear of interference with sports that are currently in season, and fear that if they did allow spring football practice, other sports would lobby for out-of-season practices.

We agreed that spring football practice is an advantage for teams come fall season, and that it helps with recruiting.

There is little doubt that being able to get your players on the field in the off-season for organized practice, as well as being able to go full-contact, is an advantage over not doing it.

Clemson coach Dabo Swinney told Rivals.com there is a definite advantage.

“In my years out on the road recruiting, there’s a difference in just the development of guys,” Swinney said. “When you can’t work with guys and practice this game full-speed, it’s hard to develop. And if you’ve got your rival over here practicing full-speed, then they’re going to be a little further ahead. It’s just that simple.”

Development is the key word. South Carolina gets players on the field in the spring and begins evaluating and developing them. Getting a look at the players in the spring provides focus for summer workouts by identifying strengths and weaknesses.

“More than anything else,” said Dean Howell, athletics director and coach at White Knoll, “I use it to implement our schemes with the younger players. It’s a vital time for developing the younger guys and teaching them the system and how do do things the right way so we’re not spending so much time on that in the late summer and fall.”

In terms of recruiting, it is a no-brainer. Spring practice gives college coaches a chance to watch players in full-contact.

Players might jump onto a recruiting board earlier than their counterparts. Younger players might get on the radar when they are noticed while coaches are scouting older players.

Players to watch

Austin Scott, QB, Spartanburg: This 2016 signal-caller transferred from Byrnes this off-season when his father, a coach, left Byrnes for Spartanburg. This freshman has all of the tools, a very smooth throwing motion, a quick release, and great accuracy. His arm strength is more than adequate and will get better as he matures.

Noah Green, OL, Boiling Springs: Green, a 2015 star, has offers from South Carolina and Clemson. The 6-foot-5, 275-pound trenchman is one of the top players at his position in the state and is going to see a very long and distinguished list of offers before he’s done.

Aaron Peak, DB, Blythewood: Peak, a 2014 class prospect, might have the best coverage skills of any cornerback in the state. He may be a sleeper at the moment.

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