clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Hear me out: Missouri should not play its Spring Game this year

New, 24 comments

Missouri's Spring Game will be broadcast live on the SEC Network but maybe they shouldn't even play the game

Dak Dillon-USA TODAY Sports

It was announced yesterday every SEC spring game will be televised live. This was a change from last year, when the games aired on the SEC Network+ channel with "whip-around coverage" and were then re-aired once they had been completed. This is a welcome change for Missouri fans because it means they'll be able to tune into the SEC Network at 6 pm on April 16 if they can't make it to Faurot Field in person.

Barry Odom mentioned another possible change after Tuesday's practice, this one regarding the format of the spring game itself.

"I’d like to line up and play as close to a game as you can play. Obviously I don’t want to do a lot of kicking. We need to get some work in. There’s some guys that haven’t played with the lights on that I want to see them … in the arena with people in the stands and the lights on. I would love to do that."

Odom has been preaching "toughness wins," and competing with the "lights on" may very well reveal who's ready to shine. With a less complicated scoring system, something resembling an actual football game would certainly be easier for fans to follow.

However, we'd only end up seeing scripted plays of the first-team defense vs. the second-team offense and vice versa. If one side wins, was it because they were truly impressive or just playing against backups and walk-ons? After last year's spring game, players and coaches admitted they kept it pretty vanilla, and that's the standard for all spring games.

The truth is there just aren't many conclusions to be drawn from having the same players line up and hit each other one final time before summer. Those extra hits mean more chances of injury.

The injuries this team is dealing with -- specifically the lack of depth on the offensive line -- means a "tough" game might do more harm than good. Many coaches hate spring games for precisely that reason. Some are making changes, like at Arizona where Rich Rodriguez is making the game an event for fans to call plays and re-engage with the team and its players.

At one point there had been talk of an event for Mizzou students to meet players and observe a team scrimmage. Perhaps that was only a fan-fueled rumor, since the media is certainly not being allowed to observe scrimmages and has had access to practice and players curtailed. Part of that is a new coaching staff wanting to install its brand of toughness in their first season, and part is simply the increasing trend of sports teams reporting on themselves and controlling coverage. It's unlikely either of those things change.

Yet, perhaps a different change, like turning the Black and Gold game into a fan event, could cast a different kind of spotlight on the team. Have a strong man competition for the big guys, let the kickers compete against fans to see who can kick 25 yard field goals from the left hash, hold a seven on seven game with the skill position players vs students. Yes donations are down [Update: or are they?] but don't charge anyone to attend and stream it online for everyone to watch.

After last season, Mizzou could certainly use the positive publicity.