After initially mulling over the NCAA's May 3rd release which stated that men's basketball practices would be moved up two weeks, Seton Hall head coach Kevin Willard was elated. "When it was announced, I was really excited. I thought: 'Boy, practice earlier. It's great.'"
After several weeks of quite literally putting the new NCAA legislation into practice, Willard is no longer sold on the schedule change. "And now, I'm really struggling with it. Just because you have to take so many days off. You can't be caught going into your first game on November 9th having to take two or three days off [before], so you have to take so many days off early."
Willard is referring to the amount of practices schools are allowed to conduct in the days leading up to the start of the college season. Prior to the NCAA's May 3rd release, coaches were allowed 24 practices during a 30-day period. Now, coaches are permitted 30 practices over a 42-day span. Kevin's point seems to be that there are now 12 off-days during this preseason period instead of just 6.
For Coach Willard, at least, this has affected the flow of practices. "It's tough to get in a rhythm, tough to get the kids in a rhythm. You put some new plays in, [then] you take two days off. You have to spend all that time putting the new plays back in, going back over them - the teaching points," Willard explained to broadcaster Bob Wenzel at Big East Media Day. "So, I haven't been a fan of it, because I think it has taken some time away from individual instruction, its taken time away from getting their bodies more prepared for the season. So I was excited when I found out about it, but I'm not nearly as excited about it now. I think its something that we're going to grapple with over the next couple years."
For Seton Hall, staying healthy may be one of the keys to their season, especially after the injury bug was put on full-display during their 2012-13 campaign, so its not surprising for Willard to express immediate concern about off-court preparation.