UGA Football

Smart talks idea of college teams scrimmaging, practicing before season begins

By Jason Butt

jbutt@macon.com

Georgia head coach Kirby Smart is photographed with linebackers Tae Crowder (30) and Natrez Patrick (6).
Georgia head coach Kirby Smart is photographed with linebackers Tae Crowder (30) and Natrez Patrick (6). Georgia Sports Communications

Kirby Smart appears open to the idea of holding an offseason or preseason scrimmage with another college football program.

Appearing on 680 The Fan’s The Front Row Wednesday, Smart was asked about this concept, which came a day after Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney said he would love for something like this to come into fruition.

“We did that in the NFL when I played and coach, and it was great,” Smart said. “Now, every now and then it gets a little heated with some scuffles. It’s much more enjoyable for the players than the same monotonous thing. They get to each other, they get to scrimmage, play somebody else.”

The NCAA does not technically prohibit this sort of thing from happening. But if two teams did agree to a scrimmage, they would each lose a regular-season game.

NCAA bylaw 17.9.5.1 states that a member institution “shall limit its total regular-season playing schedule with outside competition during the permissible football playing season in any one year to 12 contests (games or scrimmages).”

Given the numerous factors at play in a 12-game season, this all but shuts down the opportunity for teams to scrimmage each other before a new season begins.

Joint practices, however, are popular at other levels of football. NFL teams have practiced with one another during the preseason for quite awhile.

And as Smart noted, high school programs are practicing and scrimmaging with one another too.   

“They do it all over the state of Georgia,” Smart said. “They have a day where they come in with two or three teams, and they share. If you do it the right way and the coaches understand it’s really not about who wins the drill, it’s about getting better, then it’s very productive.”

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