Monday, September 7, 2009

O'Brien supports preseason change

Every preseason, college football coaches and players drone on about how tired they are of scrimmaging against their teammates.

N.C. State coach Tom O'Brien has a solution for this yearly August malaise. O'Brien has joined Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer in calling for the NCAA to allow schools to schedule a preseason exhibition game against another school.

O'Brien said the issue was discussed at the latest American Football Coaches Association convention last winter. While preparing for the national marquee opener against Alabama last week, Beamer threw his weight behind the idea.

Now O'Brien is saying that either playing an exhibition game or being allowed to go practice against another team would be "a great idea" for college football teams.

"It will give you an indication of who and what you are against somebody else," O'Brien said. "Then when you open with a South Carolina or an Alabama like he did, you might be better prepared to take on the first game."

O'Brien said support for the idea might be the result of an influx of former NFL coaches in the college ranks. He said he wouldn't want to play four exhibition games as NFL teams do.

He said that when he played for the Marine Corps team in 1972, Carson-Newman and another school visited the Corps at Quantico for about a week.

"Each day you practiced against somebody different and you worked on your stuff," he said. "And it worked out pretty good."

The NFL isn't the only place where exhibition games are held. In college athletics' other marquee sport, men's basketball teams are allowed two exhibition games each season.

Some schools have taken to forgoing one of those exhibitions in order to meet an opponent for a secret, unpublicized scrimmage.

Football is more violent than basketball, and it might take only an injury or two to key players to make coaches dread exhibition games. But the way O'Brien sees it, getting a chance to work out the kinks against an opposing team without having a win or loss at stake would be worthwhile for college football teams.

Ken Tysiac


Anonymous said...

If you want a tune-up game against a weak team, schedule one!

If you can't get your team ready to play a big game as an opener, don't schedule one!

I didn't think Tom O'Brien was supposed to be a such a whiner.