Apr 11, 2014, 10:21 AM EDT
It may seem hard to believe, but as soon as tomorrow (Saturday, April 12) a trio of CAA Football teams — James Madison, Villanova and William & Mary — will wrap up their respective offseason training with an annual spring game.
Seems hard to believe, right? Especially since the end to the 2013 FCS football season came just 97 days ago, or roughly three months and seven days, in Frisco, Texas. But who’s counting?
Regardless, let’s take a quick look around the league to see what’s gone one thus far, as well as what’s still to come for Spring Ball 2014.
UAlbany: The Great Danes kicked off spring ball earlier than many would think — starting on March 24 — even while battling the weather in the state of New York. Amazingly, this is the school’s first offseason without former (and legendary) ball coach Bob Ford since he guided the program from the start of its inception in 1970. Check out the Great Danes’ great “Spring Football Central” page which includes daily videos, top tweets, and a schedule of events.
Anticipated spring game date: Saturday, April 19 – 2014 UAlbany schedule
Delaware: The Blue Hens, led by second-year head coach Dave Brock, started practices this week in preparation for the annual spring game on May 3. UD has one of the more intriguing spring rituals, as the team sets aside one practice to travel to a local high school to instruct youth and interact with fans. That takes place on April 26 at nearby Milford High School. The ‘Hens already have one video produced recapping Day 1 of spring ball.
Anticipated spring game date: Saturday, May 3 – 2014 Delaware schedule
Elon: CAA Football’s newest member kicked off spring ball on March 31, also under a new direction. Rich Skrosky takes over the helm after being named the Phoenix’s 21st head coach in program history last December. Elon has updated the team’s progress via videos over the spring as well as a couple of different photo galleries.
Anticipated spring game date: Saturday, April 26 – 2014 Elon schedule
James Madison: Keeping the theme rolling, James Madison and new coach Everett Withers are already set to complete the spring with the final practice/scrimmage taking place this Saturday. Like UD’s concept to better involve fans within the program during the offseason, the Dukes held their first ever Student Appreciation Day last weekend. A couple hundred JMU students showed up to take part in drills, connect with coach Withers and the players as well as try on gear and tour the football facility.
Anticipated spring game date: Saturday, April 12 – 2014 JMU schedule
Maine: The 2013 #CAAFB champion Black Bears have been plenty busy this winter, and officially started defending their crown on Thursday, with the first practice of the spring taking place. Thursday’s practice, like every team in the league, is one of 15 allowed to take place in accordance to NCAA rules. Maine’s annual “Jeff Cole” scrimmage takes place on Saturday, May 3. Checkout a quick video recap of practice following Day 1.
Anticipated spring game date: Saturday, May 3 – 2014 – Maine schedule not yet available
New Hampshire: After advancing to the FCS Football semifinals last fall, the Wildcats have high hopes this spring with many players from that squad returning in 2014. UNH’s spring campaign began on April 1, while the ‘Cats square off versus each other in the team’s Blue-White scrimmage on Saturday, May 3. Here’s a recap video of the first spring practice.
Anticipated spring game date: Saturday, May 3 – 2014 New Hampshire schedule
Rhode Island: The new-look Rhody Rams will play in their own Blue-White Spring Game on April 19 after practices started on March 26. Not only is there plenty of excitement around Kingston, but there’s been plenty of new scheming and planning taking place, too. Defensive-minded first-year head coach Jim Fleming has already hinted a couple of times the importance that side of the ball might hold for his team. Plenty of video updates from the spring can be found here as well.
Anticipated spring game date: Saturday, April 19 – 2014 Rhody schedule
Richmond: The Spiders tackled spring ball proactively with a “Spring Football Practice Central” page, allowing fans and those alike to be able to stay up to date with the team through videos, photos and social media. The page itself is pretty cool, trust me. UR’s annual spring game will take place on April 19 at its own Robins Stadium.
Anticipated spring game date: Saturday, April 19 – 2014 Richmond schedule
Stony Brook: The Seawolves have been at it for spring ball since March 25 and plan to compete in their spring game on April 26. SBU’s Instagram account has provided some insight so far during the spring. Stony Brook had a pretty impressive recruiting class which featured two transfers who joined the team for spring ball and 16 future Seawolves overall.
Anticipated spring game date: Saturday, April 26 – 2014 Stony Brook schedule
Towson: Following an immensely successful season which saw the Tigers’ 2013 campaign come to a close in the FCS title game, Towson has set a high bar for the program on all levels. Last year’s national runner up plans to stay true to its early mornin’ practice schedule this spring, with coach Rob Ambrose crediting that method to his team’s deep playoff run last year. Watch Ambrose comment on the team’s first day of spring practice.
Anticipated spring game date: Saturday, April 26 – 2014 Towson schedule
Villanova: Coach Andy Talley’s Wildcats bring back 15 starters from a team that went 6-5 (4-4 in CAA Football) last season. ‘Nova started spring ball relatively early on March 11 and wraps up all the action on Saturday on the Main Line at 8:30 a.m.
Anticipated spring game date: Saturday, April 12 – 2014 Villanova schedule
William & Mary: Much of the William & Mary coaching staff was either promoted or hired this off season, including three new coaches on the offensive side and the promotion of Trevor Andrews to defensive coordinator. The Tribe complete spring ball on Saturday and are one of the few CAA Football teams to live-stream the contest through the web. The game can be watched in HD on tribeathletics.com for those interested. There have been some great video features as well throughout the spring highlighting individual position groups. Check out the feature on All-CAA DL Mike Reilly.
Anticipated spring game date: Saturday, April 12 – 2014 William & Mary schedule
Be sure to check back on the blog for more spring updates over the coming weeks and stay connected to the league via the CAA Football Twitter account, @CAAFootball, and the league’s Instagram account.
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