The Spring Game is not the best environment to judge players.
Spring practice has concluded and the Orange are set to put the cherry on top of the first session of practice with the Spring Game at the Carrier Dome on Saturday morning. The Spring Game, which last year was more of a public practice than a game, will actually be a game this year, with four, 12-minute quarters. That will likely entice fans a little more and might drum up some interest in the glorified scrimmage, but what can we really learn from something like this?
The honest and simple answer is not a whole lot. In terms of the coaches actually evaluating players, that is mostly done behind closed doors during practices and workouts. The staff can get a better idea of a players strengths and weaknesses and potential when they are in a more intimate and controlled environment, as opposed to the controlled chaos of a scrimmage like the Spring Game. That isn’t to say that a player can’t do something to turn some heads in the Spring Game. You never know. It is essentially a watered-down preseason game and players in all sports can certainly make a big impression in preseason games.
A player could, in theory, absolutely go off in the Carrier Dome on Saturday. However, it is likely that a stand-out performance on Saturday will mean more to the fans than the coaches. After all, that is really what the Spring Game is about; the fans. It gives fans a chance to see the team that they haven’t seen in more than four months and get a very small sneak-peek into what the season ahead may hold. It gets fans into the mood for football and is used as a great promoting tool from the team to the community. Die-hard Syracuse football fans surely can get more out of the Spring Game than the casual fan. They will just be happy to see the orange and blue jerseys running around the Carrier Dome turf. For the casual fan, it’s like going to an NFL training camp. It is fun and exciting to see your favorite players but there isn’t that much to take away.
Only so much can be taken from a football game where there is no real hitting or tackling. Not only that but the incoming freshman class is not yet on campus, so some players who just may play a significant role on this team come the fall, will not be participating. So, in short, enjoy the Spring Game. It is the only Syracuse football you will get to see until August. But, don’t read too much into it. It is a scrimmage that is really just about having fun.