Secret scrimmages, exhibitions and eventually real games


Dayton’s Devon Scott and Jordan Sibert get off the bus in front of the team hotel in Memphis, Tenn., on Tuesday, March 25, 2014. David Jablonski/Staff

The first rule about the NCAA’s secret scrimmages is: Don’t talk about the secret scrimmages. The second rule is: If you do talk about them, talk about them without talking about them.

Most everyone knows by this point that Dayton and Illinois scrimmaged Sunday in Indianapolis. All across the nation, Division I teams are scrimmaging each other behind close doors. These games aren’t on the official schedules. The teams aren’t permitted to announce them or talk about them, a rule that is followed to a certain extent — not to the extent that ESPN can’t publish a lengthy list of them.

According to reports, Illinois beat Dayton on Sunday, but the results in these contests aren’t important.

“You get an opportunity right away to see your talent versus equal talent,” said Dayton coach Archie Miller, speaking in general about the secret scrimmages without talking about his scrimmage in particular. “In so many cases when you play exhibition games, it doesn’t really matter what you do. You’re going to beat the team because you’re more talented. Early in the season, when you play a scrimmage like that, you get a chance to show where you’re so deficient in certain areas. It’s good. It’s very, very good. But the key is where you go from here.”

What we do know about Dayton after the game Sunday is the Flyers emerged healthy and ready for their lone exhibition game against Southern Indiana at 7 p.m. Saturday. The exhibition game comes six days before the Flyers’ regular-season opener against Alabama A&M at UD Arena. After that, the schedule turns tough fast. Dayton plays Texas A&M in Puerto Rico on Nov. 20.

Miller said Jalen Robinson and Dyshawn Pierre haven’t had any setbacks and are progressing in their conditioning. Everyone will play Saturday except Detwon Rogers, who is out until at least January with a knee injury.

Jordan Sibert also talked about the scrimmage without talking about the scrimmage. Asked Wednesday what he knows about his team now that he didn’t know last week, Sibert said, “We’re a tough group, similar to last year. I feel like people were kind of nervous about what the team’s going to be like, but one thing that’s for certain is we’re still a tough group of players who play to win.”

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