Posted by Adam Jacobi
Colorado head coach Jon Embree has big ideas about changing his program. He necessarily has to; the status quo for Colorado has deteriorated to the point that merely doing things Dan Hawkins' way but just better isn't going to bring many fans or high-level recruits into the fold.
Now, while recruiting for 2011 is done and actual football won't start for another seven months, there isn't a whole lot Embree (or any other coach--this isn't an indictment of Embree specifically) can do to excite fans between now and the start of the 2011 season except, well, talk.
One area where he can start making changes that directly affect the fans, however, is the spring game. And on that note, Colorado will be playing its annual spring game at night:
Embree said Saturday afternoons in the spring are often consumed with parents and kids around the state traveling to, and participating in, assorted sporting events such as baseball, lacrosse or track and field meets. He said it makes it hard for them to make it to the spring game, which has usually started around 1 p.m. in recent years.
Embree is particularly mindful of trying to make the game more accessible to area football players and teams who might want to make the trip to Boulder to see the stadium and the program in a game-like situation.
"I thought it would create a nice atmosphere," he said. "I think it gives people more of an opportunity to come up. I know how it was when I was here and we had the spring game. My boys were bummed because they had a baseball game and couldn`t come.
"I think it will help us get some of the in-state kids up here for the game."
Embree's clearly not doing a very good job of disguising his real motivation for the switch: recruiting. Later in the article, he even goes on to mention that he'd like to bring in the Colorado HS football state champions at halftime of the spring game, and if that's not a gigantic NCAA violation, it will be the next time the rules are revisited.
And yet, potential recruits are far from the only people who would enjoy watching a spring game under the lights. Depending on what the school does with tailgating policies for the new night game, students might have an absolute blast with the event (and some'll probably show up drunk no matter what). Moreover, since it's just a spring game, there's really no need to stay until the very end; fans can just come to see as much as they want, then go home whenever, which minimizes traffic problems.
Plus, night football's just fun. Sure, it'll be chillier than if the game were during the day; Boulder's average highs are in the mid-to-upper 50s during early April (the spring game is April 9), while lows are in the mid-30s. But 35-40 degrees for a football isn't terrible, and it's not as if nobody in Colorado has a coat.
All in all, this should be a neat development. We'll see how the fans respond to such an event.