I'm not sure when or where the tradition began to hold spring practices for college football teams, but one thing is for sure, whoever came up with the idea most not have liked lacrosse or baseball too much – or basketball for that matter. Maybe it's just me and I will be the first person to admit that I have a problem, but when I saw a transcript of a Paul Johnson . . .

. . .press conference (actually a luncheon pow-wow with reporters) hit the Navy Sports wire I had to look at my calendar to make sure it wasn't August. Indeed it wasn't. In fact, the temperature in the greater Annapolis area was a near perfect 73 degrees. That could only mean one thing. Spring has arrived and in Navy town that means one really big thing – are you ready for some football!

Alright, now that I have managed to upset every diehard lacrosse and baseball fan in the Navy community, I need to inject here a little love for the aforementioned sports teams. First of all, the Navy lacrosse team is 7-0, ranked #4 in the country and off to its best start in over 20 years. But right or wrong, I think it is fair to say that your mainstream Navy fans won't start really getting excited about lacrosse until they prevail over some tougher competition. The combined record of Navy's seven opponents thus far is 14-31. However, it won't take long to see what Navy's lacrosse team is made of because its final five opponents, starting with Bucknell this Sunday, are a combined 26-6. Beat Bucknell (7-1), and Georgetown (4-1) the following week, and then fans will really get into the final three games against Maryland, Army, and Johns Hopkins.

As for the baseball team, they are 15-8 and I'm honestly not too sure what to make of the team and the record. I'll admit I'm not well versed in college baseball these days but as good as 15-8 looks on paper, what exactly does it mean if the team loses to a 6-9 Mount St. Mary's team by the score of 18-3? Prior to the season, all eyes were on All-American candidate pitcher Mitch Harris and so far the junior hasn't disappointed. On the mound, Harris is 5-1 with 50 strikeouts in 37 1/3 innings, while only allowing 20 hits. Perhaps more impressive has been Harris' production at the plate where he leads the Mids with 4 home runs and a remarkable 23 runs batted in. But just like the lacrosse team, things will start to get interesting for the baseball team pretty soon as they open up Patriot League play against Holy Cross next weekend.

So having given both lacrosse and baseball some ink let me get back to what makes spring time enjoyable each and every year – football practice and Coach Johnson's well chosen words he uses to inspire his young players. He got off to a good start at Thursday's luncheon for the beat reporters.

"Coming out of morning workouts there are a couple of young guys that I was really counting on that I'm disappointed in. I don't know if they can play for us. I don't know if they are tough enough. They give up awfully easy."

Of course Johnson wasn't about to give up specific names for reporters, but he did identify a particular class – the plebe class - who were going through the morning workouts in the spring for the first time and most must not have been acclimating to it too well.

"Some of them think their hurt. Nobody just quits, they think their hurt. Their vision of being hurt and my vision of being hurt are not the same."

Remarkably a few players actually received some pre-season praise from Johnson. Most notably on his good side so far were rising seniors Reggie Campbell and Adam Ballard whom he referred to as "explosive" and "tough" respectively.

During the luncheon there was also a lot of talk of players changing positions – mainly on the defensive side of the ball. Too much speculation at this point to really dissect it position by position; after all that is what is so fun about the spring practices and the press conferences that follow. Luckily for Navy fans, Coach Johnson is already in mid-season form. What's the over/under on what day this spring he pulls out the "rolling the helmets off the bus" quote? One thing is for sure, Temple probably still hasn't recruited any of our players. That quote may come as early as Monday. Boy, isn't spring great!

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