Feature Picture Photo by Kevin Cline
Football is back. Well, tomorrow it’s back…but it’s back.
A football fan lives one of the most stressful lives of any sports fan. While the season is full of excitement, turmoil, hope, and letdown, the excruciating months of the offseason begin to take their toll.
The Ducks football team will begin spring practice with several questions unanswered. Will a second-string quarterback emerge? Who will practice with the first-team defense after the losses of Michael Clay, Kiko Alonso and Dion Jordan? Will last year’s starting receivers remain in their current spot on the depth chart? All of these questions add to the longing and yearning for spring ball to ensue.
There is nothing like fall football season; rivalry weeks, rankings, and media coverage offer us nutcases unlimited resources and information to consume our time.
But spring football is still a nice halftime break from the days scouring the calendar like a hawk waiting for the days of pigskin to return. It is unique in itself to have a spring game, allowing fans to come see the new additions to the team – be it transfers or redshirts — and guessing who will fill vacant starting positions.
We Oregon fans get an extra perk during the spring game – our players don military dedicated uniforms, adding to the fame and legacy of Duck uniforms. While it’s a one-and-done type of thing, the spring game uniforms are just one more reason to beckon football’s return, even if it’s just for a month.
One of the biggest questions fans have leading into spring practice is whether or not head coach Mark Helfrich will leave practices closed or open them to the public. Former coach Chip Kelly was notorious for his sarcasm and shortness with, and seemingly dislike for the media, but Helfrich appears to be changing things up.
Regardless of whether or not practices are open though, news and rumors will trickle out of the Moshofksy Center walls fulfilling some sick desire we have to know every little detail about the team.
More than any other time of year, queries of player progress, scheme changes recruiting buzz swirl around the college football community as the new season officially begins, each time trying to make the most of the time they have before opening day.
Summer practices tease us as player’s testing numbers, weights and expectations, but it’s not the same. Only the conditioning coach – no offense coach Rad – is allowed run practices with the players and generally there isn’t a whole lot of information being thrown about other than which freshman freshly arriving on campus are impressing.
Needless to say, outside of football season, spring ball offers a unique blend of competition, fan intrigue and practice reports combined with a one-of-a-kind scrimmage that can’t be found during the other seven months of the offseason.
No other sport encapsulates the kind of experience that football provides. The short four month season creates an atmosphere where each game is pivotal, and each week becomes centered on who and what time our favorite teams play on Saturday.
Spring is a vital dabble into football that we as Ducks need to stay afloat. Without some sort of break from the break, we would go insane.
It’s a community like no other. Football fans endure pain and suffering like few in history have experienced, yet something keeps us coming back for more. So here we are, waiting for tomorrow.