Football Coach Lloyd Jordan sat down Wednesday--before the announcement by the American Council on Education--and told a couple of reporters what he thought about spring practice.
Jordan outlined his problems quietly, explaining what he would do if spring drills were eliminated; most important, why he felt they should be retained. The listener couldn't help but be impressed by the man's sincerity and by the feeling that his arguments had the highest merit. This question will come up again in the future, and Jordan's reasoning will be as valid then as now.
After all the hullaballoo surrounding his post-season speeches, Lloyd Jordan was again presenting his view. This time his ground seemed firm, his position unassailable.
"Let me make it clear," he began, "that if the authorities here want to eliminate spring practice because they feel that that's the best thing for Harvard, then I'll back them all the way.
"But I strongly disagree with anyone who tells me that such an elimination is 'for the good of football.'
"Cut out spring practice, and you know what you get? Recruitment."
Jordan, like everybody else, appreciates the evils of overemphasis and an extension of "spring" practice back to December. But he sees--and it's hard to disagree--that without honest spring workouts to enable development of latent, or "rough" material, coaches will be forced to beat the bushes for finished talent. Your search will be for stars, instead of players. The resulting recruitment drive would shame even the Marines.
"Spring practice," said Jordan, "gives the fellow who wasn't a high school star a chance to develop his skills, to make up by hard work, for what he lacks in natural ability.
"We haven't the time in the fall to devote to really intensive individual instruction. But in the spring, when the pressure's off, coaches can work with boys individually, paying close attention to each one's needs.
"The real thrill of this job is to see the Bainy Frothinghams and the Bob Hardys make themselves starters by their own efforts. Deny people like them the chance of spring practice, and you're going to cut out a lot of the genuine good from football."
Defenders of abolishment have maintained that football players could compete in other spring sports which are "good conditioners for football." Jordan saved a sharp final thrust for that argument.
"If we don't have practice"--this was Wednesday, remember--"then I will advise the boys to go out for any sport, not the one which is supposed to be the best conditioner for football.
"There is only one conditioner for football," he said. "Football."