Column: As a whole, spring games are pointless, ya feel me?

by Samuel Gordon

I attended Minnesota’s spring football games in 2011, 2012 and 2013.

I did not attend this year’s. And by the looks of it, not many other people did, either.

I skimmed a box score and talked to people who did opt to spend their Saturday afternoon at an empty TCF Bank Stadium. From what I gathered, this year’s spring game was like every other Gophers spring game in recent memory — boring as hell.

I learned from my past experiences that there’s nothing to see at spring football games. They’re actually quite meaningless. That’s especially true for the Gophers but applies across college football.

Though big programs like Ohio State and Florida State at least partially fill their respective stadiums, there’s little to gain from a spring football game.

In general, the play-calling tends to be conservative, the quarterbacks don’t get a chance to play real football because of injury precautions and the fans don’t create a game-like atmosphere.

I’m hard-pressed to believe other guys are giving their 110 percent in a game they know is meaningless. Nobody wants to get hurt.

I get the notion of wanting to lure fans out in hopes of sparking interest for the 2014 season. Still, the best way to keep fans interested is by being good the year before — something Minnesota accomplished last season.

The Gophers opened most of their spring practices to fans and media, offering a more candid look at Minnesota’s football team.

This Saturday’s spring game was essentially another public practice.

As a whole, the real merit in spring football isn’t the game, but the 10 to 15 practices, which are chances to begin laying the groundwork for a team that’s going to have a new identity — an identity the spring game doesn’t do any justice in showcasing.

Nobody saw what Mitch Leidner was truly capable of because he wasn’t allowed to be touched.

Nobody saw what the defense is capable of because so many key players were hurt and didn’t play.

Nobody saw what the total package is going to look like because nobody is going to show all their cards for a sparse spring game crowd.

If you came to any one of the spring football practices, you probably saw more meaningful football than you did Saturday.

On Saturday, nothing that happened mattered.

Ya feel me?