While some wonder if there will even be a 2020 college football season, USC fans are probably also considering just how much farther back USC football has been relegated by the absence of spring football to get the troops acclimated to the important new defensive staff members and any system/scheme changes.
Clearly, programs with the most recent success and continuity, as well as higher-profile preps, stand to kick off the 2020 season with an even greater advantage than usual. But at the same time, USC has a veteran squad, so Clay Helton’s positive drumbeat about USC’s 2020 chances may indeed better prognosticate USC’s upcoming improvement, despite the lack of March drills to get Todd Orlando’s plan of action integrated into the current USC football culture.
Does the lack of practices now simply reinforce USC’s troublesome football culture and lack of physicality under Helton lately?
The Athletic’s Stewart Mandel addressed this subject just recently:
“(The lack of spring ball) will most adversely affect schools with coaching changes, where those 15 practices can be essential both for the new staff to evaluate the personnel they inherited and install their playbooks.
“But I have another theory: This is yet another instance where the haves are going to be better equipped to withstand it than the have nots.
“For one thing, they have bigger support staffs full of people who can help their players navigate these challenges, whether helping keep them on track academically, making sure they’re keeping up their conditioning back home or just being a sounding board. But also: If everyone’s going to enter this season with less practice, I’d rather have a bunch of five-stars whose talent may help mask unrefined technique than a bunch of two- and three-stars for whom development is essential and who may now be getting less coaching.
“Most coaches would tell you time spent in the weight room and in summer workouts is ultimately more important for that than 15 practices. But guess what? Gyms are closing. (And even if they’re open, you’d be nuts to still be going.) There’s going to be a lot of strength coaches out there who have to get creative over the next several months.”
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