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Wait, what? One FBS team starts spring ball on Wednesday

Jamey Chadwell likes starting ball early. But this seems awfully early, even by early-bird standards.

Coastal Carolina will begin official preparations for the 2021 spring football season on Wednesday. This Wednesday. Tomorrow, Jan. 27., 9:45 a.m. sharp.

Coastal announced its 2021 spring slate on Tuesday, with a spring game set for Feb. 18:

Practice Schedule (tentative):
Jan. 27 – 9:45 a.m.
Jan. 28 – 9:45 a.m.
Jan. 29 – 9:45 a.m.
Feb. 1 – 9:45 a.m.
Feb. 2 – 9:45 a.m.
Feb. 4 – 9:45 a.m.
Feb. 5 – 9:45 a.m.
Feb. 8 – 9:45 a.m.
Feb. 9 – 9:45 a.m.
Feb. 11 – 9:45 a.m.
Feb. 12 – 9:45 a.m.
Feb. 15 – 9:45 a.m.
Feb. 16 – 9:45 a.m.
Feb. 17 – 9:45 a.m.
Feb. 18 – Spring Game (6:30 p.m.)

The club's spring season will begin one month and one day after their 2020 campaign concluded, in the Dec. 26 Cure Bowl. Following a 12-game season, the Chanticleers will play football roughly 20 out of 29 weeks, dating back to training camp in August.

Starting early turned out well for Coastal last year -- the Chants were one of two FBS teams to get in all 15 spring practices. Most didn't even start.

But this is early even by those standards. In 2019, Chadwell's first season running the program, Coastal didn't even announce its schedule until Feb. 13; they began March 1 and ended April 6. Last year's slate started Feb. 5 and ended March 5.

Most FBS programs are kicking their spring 2021 schedules out as far as they can, for two reasons. One is in the realistic hope that, with vaccines now a reality, the longer they wait, the greater the possibility they can have a normal or normal-ish spring season. The other is that the 2020 season, with its endless testing, quarantining and protocol-ing, was exhausting and everyone needs a break.

Coastal -- fresh off an 11-1 season, a No. 9 ranking, a GameDay showdown with BYU, a canceled Sun Belt title game and a memorable Cure Bowl loss to Liberty -- has decided to go in the opposite direction. This is our reality until it isn't, so best to get spring ball in and over with and then take a long break before training camp opens in August.