Dye-Gest Column: A Former Coaches Take On Two-A-Days

College Football Hall of Fame coach Pat Dye writes about a rules change that will have an impact on the Auburn football team and other programs.

College football rules are constantly changing and one of the adjustments coaches will be making is conducting preseason without two-a-day practices, which have been going on for just about forever.

I have memories of two-a-days as a player and memories of those practices as a coach. I don’t see the change as something that will hurt college football as long as they allow an extra week of preseason practice, which looks like it will be a case from what I have been told.

There are some plusses and minuses about the two-a-day changes and my take is it will have more of an effect on some teams than others. For the ones that have a lot of great players, it won’t impact them nearly as much as the teams that have to really develop their guys to be successful at the college level.

As a coach if you don’t have the best players, keys to success are to be superior technique-wise as well as better conditioned, physically tougher plus mentally tougher than the folks you are facing.

You want your team to have all of the intangibles  working in your favor. I believe they are a big part of college football. There is a lot of value in putting teams on the field that are good enough fundamentally to keep mistakes at a minimum.

When I coached at Auburn at times in preseason we would actually practice three times a day, but just one of those was in full pads. We would go in shoulder pads and headgears in the morning and come back for a mid-day walk-through in street clothes spending 45 minutes on the kicking game. Then we would have one practice in full pads, the tough one in the afternoon session.

You tried to not take a lot out of them in the morning and the walk-through wasn’t draining. I preferred walk-throughs on the field to work on the kicking game alignments and assignments instead of doing it on the blackboard in meetings.

I don’t see this rules change having a tremendous impact on teams because they will adjust. The ones that do the best job of time utilization will be the ones that will benefit.

With an extra week of preseason practice it is going to be different and it is a long time to be on the field before playing your first game. As a coach you don’t want your players just going through the motions of a long preseason so you will need to have a plan to avoid that.

Teams that are trying to develop a new starter at quarterback and are going through other changes will probably benefit more from an extra week of practice than they would by practicing twice a day for a shorter period. In Auburn’s situation, with a new offensive coordinator and the possibility of a new starter at quarterback, the rules change could be beneficial this season.

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