Whether or not the weather affects this weekend's FCS spring games still up in the air

Whether or not the weather affects this weekend's FCS spring games still up in the air
Western Illinois has its spring football game scheduled for Friday night in Macomb. (photo courtesy of goleathernecks.com)

Logic would tell you that by scheduling spring practices essentially two weeks ahead of other state football programs would run the risk of rough weather (albeit playing in a milder climate six hours south of Chicago).

Yet, this spring, logic has resembled a wind-blown shanked punt. And that turned out well for Nick Hill.

The third-year Southern Illinois head coach and his Salukis wrapped up their spring practice with a light walk-through without pads or helmets shortly after the annual spring game, which was held April 7 in Carbondale.

"We always felt like we wish we had one more practice after the spring game that we could talk about what we want to work on, what we want to emphasize for the summer," Hill said.

In the meantime, the rest of the state's FCS programs conclude with their spring games this weekend. The weather has been more like late November during the regular season than what coaches and players most likely wanted.

Player safety a major factor

In fact, many around college football have cancelled spring games outright, including the likes of Northwestern, Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin. And schools down south have seen a hit in the number of fans willing to show up to tailgate and watch these often inconsequential scrimmages played in chilly conditions.

"We’ve seen spring games get changed up by weather before, but usually only one every couple years or so. This year, there happens to be a bunch," wrote Richard Johnson of SB Nation.

"A lot of this has to do with player safety," Johnson further wrote. "A team definitely doesn’t want a torn ACL in a scrimmage game, and weather might make footing slippery."

SIU's Hill lost Torian Lewis out of Thornton Fractional South High School to injury two years ago.

"That's why we didn't go live at the beginning (of the scrimmage)," Hill explained.

This weekend's slate

Eastern's Kim Dameron, Western's Jared Elliott and Illinois State's Brock Spack all want to come out of their spring games injury free this weekend. They're also hoping (and perhaps praying) for better weather.

As of this writing, none of the three schools has cancelled spring games.

"We have moved practice times and days throughout the 15-practice period, but as of now we have got them all in and have scheduled practices for Tuesday, Thursday and Friday before Saturday’s scrimmage," ISU Assistant Athletics Director/Communications Mike Williams said in an e-mail.

Monyae Williamson, Assistant Athletic Director for Athletic Communications at Western, said, "The weather hasn’t impacted football yet this spring, and as of right now, there have been no changes to our spring game this Friday."

The same is true at EIU.  Rich Moser, Associate Athletic Director/Media & Public Relations, noted that the Panthers had moved up Saturday's spring game's start time one hour to 4:30 p.m. "to condense the program for that that day." 

Stay tuned for the weather.


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