SEC spring football came to a close this weekend for six SEC members (Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, Missouri, South Carolina and Vanderbilt), and fanbases from Columbia (MO) to Columbia (SC) are all drinking the juice from the fruits of spring. The reality that nobody really wins or loses — unless you have a discernible hatred for the varied shades of your school’s colors — seems to be lost on people enamored with the performance of Billie Jo Rix, third-string quarterback of blah-blah university.
Billie Jo went 18-for-26 for 237 yards and two touchdowns, while his only interception was the result of a tipped ball. “He spun it well,” they’ll say, but by fall camp sensibility will prevail and his return to obscurity will be swift. However, occasionally these individual victories can forecast a bright future for a young star or a meteoric rise to the forgotten blue-chip.
There are no tangible rewards to the teams that participate, just repetition, but for some of the individuals, slots on a depth chart serve as worthy compensations for weeks of hard work.
Alabama five-star T.J. Yeldon certainly made a significant first impression on the Crimson Tide faithful with 179 total yards on Saturday in Tuscaloosa. Yeldon expects to fight for some of Trent Richardson‘s vacated carries this fall with Eddie Lacy and Jalston Fowler, and a standout spring certainly improves his prospects of earning valued touches when toe meets leather in early-September.
Three hours down the road in Auburn, Kiehl Frazier was doing his damnedest to take advantage of an injury to his No. 1 competitor in Auburn’s quarterback contest, Clint Moseley. Frazier showed flashes of maturity that didn’t exist last season (when he had more carries than pass attempts) during a 7-for-9 performance on Saturday that has led many to believe that he is the favorite to enter fall as Auburn’s leading man.
However, as often as a spring performance is indicative of future success, it can also be a false representation of a player’s skills — an aberration of sorts. As fans, the absence of football has been so maddening that we become desperate to find some sort of meaning in the spring.
Unfortunately, there is rarely any to be found. But, as important as the repetition of spring is to the product on the field during the season, the conversation of spring is equally integral to the union of team and fan in the fall. Without spring, when the grass monster lays claims to QB1 and QB2, we wouldn’t have any idea who the hell Coach Chiz-aban-urrier would possibly have left to trot on the field.
Because of SEC spring football, we’ll know that the man the casual fan simply refers to as No. 11 is actually Billie Jo Rix. And because of spring, we’ll still have a prayer, no matter how dependent on trivial statistics from a meaningless game that prayer may be.