Florida's closed practices have been a thorn in the side of media members who see no reason for the cloak of secrecy that Urban Meyer draped over the Gators and Will Muschamp merely tailored to look more like Nick Saban's in his first year as Florida's head coach. So this is good news: Florida's spring practice begins on March 14, and there will be open practices on Friday, March 16 from 4:25 p.m. to 6:35 p.m. and on Saturday, March 17 from 12:55 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., giving fans and media members a chance to see Muschamp and the rest of Florida's coaches drill players for the first time in at least a few years. The practices will be free and open to the public.
The bad news? That's during the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament, and there's virtually no chance that the practices won't conflict with a Florida basketball game. Either the Gators will play on Thursday in a "second round" game and then, likely, on Saturday in a "third round" game, or they will play on Friday in a "second round" game. If they want to hold out hope of seeing both practice and the NCAA Tournament games in whole, fans' best bet is to hope for Florida to play late in the evening on Friday.
But for fans who want to support both teams, there will be a choice; for media members who will be on the road and covering the Gators at a sub-regional site, the practices come at the least opportune time, because while they will still whine about the lack of openness and access, fans are just going to tweet, "BUT MUSCHAMP OPENED PRACTICE WHERE WERE YOU?!?!" back at them.
To which I say: Well played, Coach Boom. Well played.