Fans of Florida, Mississippi State and South Carolina are allowed entry into at least some of their team‚Äôs preseason football practices.
Don‚Äôt expect Georgia coach Mark Richt to allow an all-access pass to one of his team‚Äôs workouts this month before the Bulldogs open their season Aug. 31 at Clemson.
‚ÄúI‚Äôm not interested in that,‚Äù Richt said. ‚ÄúYou just never know. One little thing can give a clue as to what we‚Äôre doing and how we‚Äôre doing it. Information, the less you know, the harder it is to prepare. The more you know, the easier it is to prepare. Especially if you‚Äôre watching practice.‚Äù
Richt said he wouldn‚Äôt know where all of those fans would fit in at the team‚Äôs on-campus practice fields, but the logistics aren‚Äôt the main concern he would have.
‚ÄúEarly on when it‚Äôs mostly fundamental and all, you still may have a couple of new plays that you‚Äôre running,‚Äù Richt said. ‚ÄúThe normal fan may not get it, but if it somehow it‚Äôs videoed or whatever and it gets on the Internet and the GA or somebody ‚Ä¶ looking at that stuff says, ‚ÄòHey, man, I just saw this at their practice and it looks a little bit different.‚Äô You might want to line up [Jadeveon] Clowney a different way. I don‚Äôt know if I‚Äôd want everybody to see [how] I‚Äôm lining him up.‚Äù
Clowney, South Carolina‚Äôs headache of a pass rusher, won‚Äôt go up against Georgia until the second game.
If Georgia has any wrinkles it‚Äôs installing, the foundation of that work is being laid now.
‚ÄúLike the one year where we decided we were going to run more no huddle than we‚Äôve ever run,‚Äù Richt said.
That was in 2011. Georgia managed to keep that mostly under wraps during the preseason.
‚ÄúI didn‚Äôt want anybody to know,‚Äù Richt said. ‚ÄúWe were really careful what we were showing and not showing because if you can just play one game and it caught them off guard and you got a victory out of it, that‚Äôs good.‚Äù
Georgia didn‚Äôt get a victory in that opener against Boise State, a 35-21 loss.
‚ÄúIt didn‚Äôt help,‚Äù Richt said. ‚ÄúThat was the intention.‚Äù
Florida will allow fans in for four practices later this month. Mississippi State opened its practices for fans for the first several days of its workouts.
Even Alabama held a ‚ÄúFan Day‚Äù open practice last Sunday at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
South Carolina had planned to allow fans into practices for at least the first week of the preseason, but coach Steve Spurrier closed practices after three days.
‚ÄúThe autographers have been a big reason we have to cancel it, cell phones with video, pictures, all that kind of stuff,‚Äù Spurrier told The (Columbia) State. ‚ÄúCan‚Äôt do it anymore. Love to do it for those people that like to watch practice. I have always been one to open up spring ball and most of preseason, but it‚Äôs a different day.‚Äù
Southern California, which had allowed fans and media into practices under former coach Pete Carroll, will now shut out the media during the regular season, according to the Los Angeles Times.
‚ÄúWe‚Äôve decided to finally follow the majority of all teams in college football and close our practices to the media during the season,‚Äù coach Lane Kiffin told the newspaper.
Georgia typically allows reporters into practice during the season for up to 15 minutes, but Tuesday‚Äôs special teams practice and Wednesday‚Äôs first preseason scrimmage at Sanford Stadium are entirely closed.
In an unusual step, Georgia has asked the media to not post on the Internet any audio from video shot at practice. Reporters have entertained themselves (and perhaps their viewers) by adding music ‚Äî including country and electronica ‚Äî to footage shot.
The reason for the audio ban is so things like snaps counts or a change of formation call won‚Äôt get out.
‚ÄúWe like to keep everything in house,‚Äù defensive end Sterling Bailey said. ‚ÄúWe don‚Äôt want any secrets getting out.‚Äù
Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham spent 11 seasons in the NFL, where he was accustomed to fans being at practices during NFL training camps.
‚ÄúI think that‚Äôs one where colleges need to all be on the same page if you‚Äôre going to do it,‚Äù Grantham said. ‚ÄúIn pro ball with the way they set the facilities up, you can handle a lot of people on your campus and at your practice facility.‚Äù
Grantham said having a ‚Äúquality‚Äù practice would be difficult at Georgia with fans surrounding the field to watch. He said NFL teams reveal some of what they are doing in preseason games. Colleges don‚Äôt play preseason games.
Even when practices are closed, Richt said an invited visitor can have him on edge.
Georgia successfully executed an onside kick from Brandon Bogotay in the first half of the SEC Championship game in 2011 against LSU.
Georgia worked on that play in practice that week.
‚ÄúI don‚Äôt want anybody to see that,‚Äù Richt said. ‚ÄúSomebody, some guy was there. I was like, ‚ÄòWho is this guy?‚Äô I got hot. I‚Äôm debating should I call it or not because I didn‚Äôt know if that guy really even knew what he was looking at. Most of the times, they don‚Äôt. But you never know.‚Äù