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Sunday, April 20, 2014
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Hobbs Column: Preseason isn’t real football

Last Modified: Monday, August 05, 2013 10:03 AM

By Scooter Hobbs / American Press

Yeah, yeah, I know, you just can’t wait for football season to start.

Sure, it’s tough. Your life has more meaning when there’s something tangible to root for, some defined opponent to hate on and rag or possibly even fear.

You need a football fix.

I feel your pain, and I’m here to lend aid and counsel.

So, we offer these helpful hints for getting through the preseason, along with some advice for dealing with it in a mature, responsible manner.

Do not watch any NFL exhibition games. They are shameless money grabs and not even real football or anything close.

You’re going to watch them anyway, aren’t you?

Remember last August when you swore up and down that you’d never watch another NFL exhibition game?

They haven’t changed any.

You know they don’t mean anything.

OK, but at least promise me you won’t paint your face for them.

Or wear a team jersey.

Also ignore any uplifting statistics that seep out from college scrimmages. Coaches can script those things any way they want to.

Beware the strength and conditioning coach as hero. Every team, according to the head coach, seems to report for camp this time of year not only “in the best shape they’ve ever been in” but also “far stronger than last year” with “all kinds records set in the weight room.” It probably won’t mean diddly once the season starts.

Same applies, only doubled and often tripled, if a team has a new head coach. Players will regale you with stories of how much better things are now and that they detect a “whole new attitude” on the team.

What do you expect them to say? “I liked the old coach better. He was a cool dude.”

Really, really be suspicious of reports that Year II under a second-year coaching staff will be so much better because of the players’ understanding of his offense and the coaches’ familiarity with the players.

You probably heard that LSU has a new offensive coordinator, ready to reinvent the wheel and the forward pass.

Has anybody but me noticed that in this new, concussion-conscious age, coaches are bragging more about how little they hit as much as how hard they work?

Fans would still much rather hear about how hot and miserable the team is while toiling in weather not suitable for iguanas.

When the team gets a surprise day off and gets bussed to the water park for team bonding, somebody important will probably get hurt on the water slide.

When a “big” story breaks in training camp, ask yourself a simple question: If this was, say, a Tuesday in the middle of the season, would this worth paying attention to?

Answer: Probably not.

Example A: The stud starter is held out of practice as a “precautionary” matter. He’s probably fine. If the team was playing this week, he’d be working out and on solid foods by Saturday or Sunday.

Example B: The Saints have been in camp less than a week, and already the biggest story is that Drew Brees stiffed a restaurant in San Diego for the tip a few weeks ago.

It was all a big misunderstanding, by the way. It was a takeout restaurant, Brees was picking up the order for his family and no tip is generally tendered in those situations.

Even by multi-millionaires known for their philanthropy.

Brees did leave a token tip, even though it wasn’t necessary, and the restaurant manager felt compelled to release a statement — yes, he really did — stating that no tip was expected and that Brees is a generous tipper when his family actually sits down to eat in the restaurant and utilizes a food server.

Usually, the manager said, something well north of 20 percent.

Websites like Dirty.com, whose journalistic diligence broke the startling Brees tip story, generally do a brisk business in the lull before the football season starts.

You should, of course, read them religiously, just to make sure you don’t miss anything.

Beware the “watch lists.” The various college awards’ organizations release them this time of year just so college sports information offices can relay the word and tout their players and, more importantly, also bring attention to the award.

A bigger story for a player at a recognizable school, is if he’s NOT on the watch list for whatever award he might be considered for.

Ask yourself this: How many watch lists was the unknown Johnny Manziel on this time last year. Did that mean none of the award-givers were allowed to watch him?

The Heisman Trophy doesn’t have or need a watch list.

Reports said there were 5,000 fans at a Saints’ practice this week — practice, we’re talking about here, PRACTICE. Can somebody please explain this to me?

Trust me, football practice is boring. It’s the penance you pay for the regular season.

• • •

Scooter Hobbs covers LSU athletics. Email him at shobbs@americanpress.com

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