It's that time again -- when we release the list of secret scrimmages. We call them secret, but here's the deal: They are conducted in private, without publicity, and there is no keeping score.
However, coaches are allowed to talk about them after the fact, per an NCAA spokesman. The lone restriction? The coach can't publicize the next scheduled scrimmage in the process.
There have already been three scrimmages held. TCU started things off with one at North Texas nearly two weeks ago, and last Saturday, Boise State played Colorado and Navy went to William & Mary.
The reasons these scrimmages are helpful? A few coaches weighed in (secretly, of course):
• They allow coaches to script whatever they believe will best benefit their team in every part of the game.
• The scrimmages force teams -- and players -- to play at a different speed. "Practicing against the same guys every day makes you fall into a rhythm. Playing against a new opponent forces you to adjust to a different speed, strength and intensity."
• They offer a reality check for coaches even more than players. "Equal to greater talent can bring real facts that some of your players aren't what you think they are right now. Your freshmen aren't that ready yet. It can make you rethink your approach."
• The games give teams a chance to practice game situations and how to adjust on the fly. For instance, what do you do down two with two seconds left under the basket? They also give teams a chance to practice both offensively and defensively and get practice fouling when up three.
• Teams get a chance to play against zone defense -- because sometimes you don't handle that as well early in the season.
• The scrimmages offer better competition.
• It's a good chance to play guys that wouldn't play as much if it were a game or even an exhibition -- because there is often an extra 10-minute session in addition to two halves.