Dye-Gest: Time to Teach And Get Tough

College Football Hall of Fame coach Pat Dye writes about spring practice at Auburn.

I went by the Auburn coaches' offices on Monday to give them invitations to the Spring Fling fundraiser we are doing on April 5-6 at Quail Hollow Gardens to benefit Auburn's School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences. Wile I was there I could tell the excitement is building with spring football practice starting this week.

While I was talking with some of the assistant coaches there were players coming in and out of the offices and it made me feel good watching the interaction. You can tell they still don't know each other real well yet, but they are trying to make the connection that is so important in building a football team following a major coaching staff transition like the one the Tigers have been through.

The visit to see the coaches reminded me of how much I loved spring practice when I was a coach, particularly when I was a head coach. It is the time of year you are trying to get the players to grow up and become tough enough physically and mentally to be successful on a football field playing what is a violent game.

There is also plenty of time in the spring to work with the kids teaching the fundamentals and techniques that will give them the opportunities to compete and win at their positions. In spring practice you can spend an extensive amount of time working on details without having to worry about getting a game plan ready for an opponent on Saturday.

I can remember organizing and scripting practices to exactly who needed what work, and what positions we needed to organize practice around to help them improve. If we were not as good as we should be in certain places we would change our drills to do whatever was necessary to get that position up to par and get it to where you could win come fall.

When I was a head coach we had 20 days of spring practice. Currently it is 15 and several of the practices have to be without pads on, but you can still get a lot accomplished practicing in shorts. However, the bottom line for a coach is that you better get your team tough enough to win football games, and you better get your team ready to play in such a manner when they start keeping score in the fall.

In my opinion good football coaches love this time of year and are excited about getting on the field and doing a lot of teaching. On my visit with Auburn's coaches I could see a gleam in their eyes and real excitement about what is getting started on the practice field this week, which reminded me why I loved that part of the job.

(If you have a question or a subject you would like me to write about in future columns, you can email it to PatDye@autigers.com.)

Editor's Note: This is part of a series of columns that College Football Hall of Fame member Pat Dye is writing for AUTigers.com about the game he played and coached. An All-American player at Georgia and one of the top head coaches in SEC history at Auburn, he also served as a head coach at East Carolina and Wyoming. Dye writes three columns for AUTigers.com--The Dye-Log, the Dye-Gest and Pat's Picks.

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