Former Virginia Tech head coach, Seth Greenberg, now an analyst for ESPN, has come out talking about “secret scrimmages” that are not so secret apparently. The NCAA only allows for any combination of two scrimmages or exhibition games. Despite this coaches across America have found a loophole that allows hem a chance to play against an opponent other than themselves in the months before the season.
Coach Greenberg points out that these scrimmages are not secret, as every message board and fan website has a full breakdown of what happened within hours of the practice. The NCAA bans coaches from discussing what happens at these scrimmages yet the information makes it out to the general public anyways. The reason the NCAA can do nothing to prevent this match-ups is that they are not really games.
Coaches often work out having a team come visit them that is coached by a former player or assistant or they look for a team that is playing a different style of game then they do. The coaches will prearrange what types of scenarios they want to see and how long. Often teams will play a different defense for 5-10 minutes and then switch to a different defense and vice-versa. Because there is not an “official” game clock, scoreboard or referees it is not technically a scrimmage.
An opportunity to play against outside opponents gives coaches an opportunity to evaluate where his team is at in its progression, see if the freshman are ready to contribute and sometimes get an external perspective on your team. Coach Greenberg tells of when he would have John Thompson, the legendary former coach of Georgetown, talk to his VT team after they would scrimmage Georgetown. Needless to say having a an opportunity to get a few tune ups before playing real games is nice, and getting told what you need to get better at from a legend never hurts anyone.