Many scientists believe that the appendix is a vestige of an organ, the cecum, which was a much larger, important, functioning organ in our ancient (more herbivore) ancestors. The cecum aids in digestion of plant material. As we (and our diets) have changed, the appendix has become smaller and less important.
In my opinion, high school football in Missouri seems to have some practices that, though once made complete sense and were important, now seem antiquated, and outdated… vestiges.
Camps – At one time, in the not so distant past, “camps” were a way of getting your players together, for a couple of weeks to do some football specific work. Teams could even wear helmets and shoulder pads. With the advent of the 25 contact days over the summer, a team now can literally work 4 days a week for most of the summer (6+ weeks) and, after the acclimation period, wear full pads. Scrimmages, 7-on-7, practices against other teams are all possible. The good programs are taking full advantage of the 25 contact days and are past the “mindset” of dedicating a couple of weeks to “camp”. Camps have become a vestige.
Jamborees – At one time, the “new” rule permitting jamborees allowed teams to get together for a controlled scrimmage prior to the beginning of the regular season. It was a chance to get “game ready” … work out the kinks, go up against opponent’s athletes, and work with officials. Again, with the allowed 25 contact days, many programs now feel that they have had ample quality work, often against good opponents. They would rather take the jamboree week to finalize their game plan for their first regular season opponent without risking injuries or divulging any offense, defense or personal tendencies. Jamborees have become a vestige.
The 5-Day Acclimation Period – I understand the idea behind the acclimation process – getting players used to wearing pads and acclimated to the heat and practice intensity. I even dedicated a post to the topic on my blog – Acclimatization. Back in the days of limited contact with your athletes in the summer, and restricted to a couple of weeks of helmets and shoulder pads, the rule made some sense. Now, most players, in most programs will have participated in all of their 25 contact days in the summer, with most of those days in full or partial pads. It makes no sense for those programs, and those athletes to revert back to day one and have to go through the MSHSAA mandated acclimation process (2 days helmets only, 3 days helmets and shoulder pads only) at the beginning of their fall practices. The 5-Day Acclimation Period is a vestige.
Live Scouting – Back in the day of 16mm film, and only trading two games of film before playing an opponent, everyone sent a crew of coaches (normally sub-varsity coaches) to an opponents game on a Friday night to scout. Typically a pair of coaches went in order to chart tendencies, blocking schemes, pass routes, etc. With most teams using the Hudl system, with most teams exchanging multiple angle, intercut films, and with most if not all games available, is live scouting really the best use of your coaches time? I think Live Scouting has become a vestige.
Good luck and good health to all of the high school teams and coaches as they head into their seasons this weekend.
Thanks to PrepsKC.com for featuring this post as part of their Coach’s Corner, and in their print magazine available at these outlets. If you get a chance, visit their site (and “Like” my post!) and pick up one of their print magazines.
Jeff Floyd – email@example.com