When spring football rolls around, every football program in Division I is gonna be better than outsiders think and has a chance of really turning things around this year. So bless our nation's SIDs and especially homer-y beat writers. It's their job to find ways to dress up thin, inexperienced rosters as "youth-injected" and one-win disasters as "adversity-hardened." We wouldn't have it any differently.
Here are the practice notes you'll read in every spring football report:
- The freshmen already on campus are really close; they've been in a room doing team-building exercises where they've only been allowed to communicate via Snapchat for the last two months, and it seems to be really paying off. They're all pushing for playing time.
- Making Music: Despite three starters being kicked off the team for attempting to pawn stolen French horns from the music department, the coaching staff feels it is a blessing in disguise, and they're ready to move forward now that the malcontents are out of the program.
- The team's all-conference middle linebacker might have torn his ACL chasing the Red Bull car for a free Sugar Free, but this is just an opportunity for one of the unheralded redshirt freshmen to step up.
- The coaching staff is genuinely excited for its first season in the Big East.
- Practice What You Preach: Coach has cut his midmorning McGriddle binge down to once a week, and it really shows. He must have lost at least two or three pounds already, which has to go a long way toward inspiring the veterans.
- Coach may be cutting back, but it's hard to say no to the hushpuppies at Dale's. Maybe someone else should be running two-a-days.
- Coach looks great.
- The two-star FB/TE may only be 185 pounds, but every single one of those pounds is baked potato with chives and sour cream and ribeye steak-fueled muscle waiting to burst onto the scene. He's pushing for playing time.
- Night Club: This is no ordinary spring game. Upon entry Saturday, a randomly selected fan will be invited to the field later in the afternoon to try his or her hand at offensive coordinator. Yep, dust off your favorite, drawn-in-the-dirt play from grade school, or anything else you can devise. Coach's game for it. No, really, he needs a new offensive coordinator, as he's been calling plays off a sheet of paper that is just a Jimmy John's catering menu for the past two seasons.
- [Lockerz.com photo of a kicking tee]
- During the spring, the team ran, ran and ran some more. Coach instituted a six-hour practice with a traffic light that had only green lights. This is a change from the prior staff's more laid-back approach.
- Hats off to the groundskeepers. Heck, helmets off! These guys are doing a great job.
- The team has officially picked a team song for the year, "I Knew You Were Trouble," by Taylor Swift. "We want our opponents to know we was trouble when we walked in," Freshman Running Back boasted despite being banned by coaches from speaking. He's still pushing for playing time.
- The campus has really embraced the inspirational song, and you can hear it all around town -- over the PA during stretching at 2 a.m., on Beats by Dre headphones, in residence halls. This year, these guys are really planning on leaving their opponents on the "cold, hard ground," as Taylor Swift sang in the song I'm writing about.
- Coach must've lost at least 10 pounds.
- Packing Their Bags: Get your roadtrip mixes ready. The team is hitting the road. Although previous team trips to Big Boar were successful, the staff is Changing Gears, which is the theme of this year. The team will be heading out to the abandoned Discovery Zone off Rt. 18, where they will be locked in for five days. "I hope that we spook the heck out of them, and then we will bond and come together as a football team, and that's the key," Receivers Coach said.
- [Lockerz.com photo of coach's visored silhouette in front of a setting sun]
- Coach really looks trim this spring.
- To stay motivated, the team has put a clock reading, "BEAT THE SCHOOL UP EAST," over a barely discernable Killian's Irish Red -- Countdown to Saint Patty's Day counting down to gameday. Imagine the passion coursing through the players' veins as they visualize that clock during deep knee bends and military presses. Brings a tear to this old beat crow's eye.
- Coach's son is pushing for playing time.
- Picture This: Cornerback Who's Been Here Forever says he's only thinking about one thing this season: cold, cold revenge. "We put one of those panoramic pictures around the locker room. It's just the quarterback from our rival's eyes surrounding each and every locker. It says, '56-3. Never again.' That's all I'm focused on right now. That left a bad taste in my mouth."
- I don't know why they call it Gatorade; it does just fine by itself.
- Everyone on the team is focused on beating Tech for the first time since the Clinton administration. To up the ante, every sled dummy has Tech's coach's face on it, as well as some not-so-pleasant locations in the men's restrooms and the downtown Applebees' salad bar. Rivalries, gotta love them.
- Coach's belt size has shrunk by two inches.
- Class Is In Session: To help the younger players learn the playbook more quickly, Coach is having each and every player do a poster board presentation on a specific play. They will research the origins of the play, famous moments in the play's history, as well as notable facts and figures about the play. Each presentation will be five minutes in length. Costumed skits: extra credit and a free hour of loafing.
- Twitter has been banned.
- Scary moment in practice today as the team's defensive coordinator collapsed during hour one of practice at 3 a.m. from what is perceived to be heat exhaustion. He was sweating sweet-smelling bullets out there. That's just passion and commitment.
- Coach looks like a rock and roll god.
- The season opener is right around the corner. Only 161 days now. As the famous song "Ballroom Blitz" once declared, "She could kill you with a wink of her eye."
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