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7-on-7 Swings Into Gear This Weekend

By the end of Saturday, this whole crazy 7-on-7 fad will be over. At least, for another season. The state's best and brightest gathered for a three-day tournament that started Thursday on Texas A&M's campus. Saturday, they'll play each division's title game live on Fox Sports Net at Kyle Field.

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But, this isn't football, right?

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Kinda, but not really. They do play with a football and the skills they show do translate to the gridiron. Still, it's hard to see why all these teams spend so much money to play in these tournaments. Literally, that's all some players do for much of the summer.

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I can understand that this keeps skill players in shape and under a coach's watchful eye for most of the summer. That's a big fear in the NFL and it probably only gets worse as the players get younger and younger. Plus, with the proliferation of the spread offense all over high school football, timing with receivers is all-important. This could help keep quarterbacks, receivers and backs all on the same page.

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At the same time, it's not football. Even when teams practice passing shells (without linemen or front seven defenders), they're in pads during the week. These 7-on-7 contests don't even have those. It's not quite the same catching passes without shoulder pads as it is with them on, right?

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Worse, these contests are becoming a huge deal. I was sitting in the stands at a Little League game recently and heard a parent talking about their high school's football team being one of two in the nation chosen by Nike to compete in an all-expenses-paid 7-on-7 tournament in Oregon. Is it just me, or does that seem more like an excuse for the coaches to go on a vacation than something that will help these players.

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Maybe I'm being jaded about the whole concept. It just seems like schools are putting more and more resources into this effort and may not be getting the return they expect.

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Images by eflon used in background images under a Creative Commons license. Thank you.