Read in fascination as the Colorado St. Rams become the Alabama Crimson Tide, at least as far as practice schedules are concerned. New CSU coach Jim McElwain, formerly Bama's offensive coordinator, switched up the incumbent practice style (first- and second-teamers do all the work; backups loiter) with something more like Nick Saban's (everybody works the entire time), and players actually love it:
Asked about keeping the delicate balance that the previous staff sought to find between getting the necessary work done and keeping the game fun, McElwain appeared puzzled by the question.
"No, I've never even thought of it," he said. "What better thing to do? You get a chance to go to school, you get a chance to play football. It's a beautiful day out. The day we look at this as a grind, let's quit."
Senior receiver Lou Greenwood couldn't agree more.
"Everything's different, in my opinion," Greenwood said. "I feel like it's kind of fun because we don't know what to expect every day; no practice is really the same. I just like to come out, have fun, learn. Coach Mac, he takes a much different approach to things, so he makes it more fun.
It makes sense the Rams used NFL practice methods over the past few years. Former coach Steve Fairchild came back to Fort Collins after almost a decade in the pros, where starters make most of the money and are much more likely to be around next year than are their backups. But in college, the freshmen will eventually be seniors, and starters aren't being paid any more than the third-stringers, all winking aside.
Let's refer back to this as yet another piece of evidence why pro coaches shouldn't be considered great gets for college programs simply because they've worked at a so-to-speak higher* level. And that's not at all a knock on the college-experienced Fairchild, who posted CSU's only bowl win of the past decade during his four years as head coach. It just shows again that NFL methods aren't always better at the college level.
* Ain't nothing higher than Colorado, friend.
While we're here, let's watch some college football videos from SB Nation's new YouTube channel together: