Paterno, Wannstedt support spring practice for high schools

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Pennsylvania high schools may eventually find themselves participating in spring football practice.

Penn State coach Joe Paterno and Pitt coach Dave Wannstedt today met with the executive board of the Pennsylvania State Football Coaches Association (PSFCA) and offered their support for the plan, which has not yet been proposed to the PIAA.

Temple coach Al Golden also backs the idea, but he could not attend today's meeting at the Lasch Football Building.

"Anything we can do to help the high school coaches, we'll do," Paterno said.

Wannstedt previously has coached in Florida, Texas and Oklahoma, three states that had spring practice. He said players from those states were farther ahead skill-wise than players from Pennsylvania.

"We all know how many repetitions it takes for a young man to develop a skill," Wannstedt said. "The more he can get an opportunity to do that, the better opportunity he has to improve his skills, the better his opportunity to go onto college somewhere."

The PSFCA hopes to have a spring practice proposal in place when the PIAA Board meets in October, although it will be a tough battle. The coaches would like to see a two-week practice period starting in mid-May, after the regular seasons have ended for baseball and track.

Paterno and Wannstedt also committed resources and coaches to an annual PSFCA clinic to be held each February after national signing day. The clinic will attract more than 1,000 high school coaches and is expected to rotate between Penn State, Pitt and Temple.

The PSFCA also plans to institute hall of fame's honoring high school coaches throughout the state. Likely destinations include Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Penn State and Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia.

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