“But, as the old adage goes, safety first.”

I’ve mentioned this before, but change is coming to fall camp.

In the last five years alone, college sports has stripped the teeth from fall camp in the name of safety, softening one of the more grueling, traditional rights of passage for NCAA football players. Officials have eliminated two-a-days, slashed practice days, added mandatory off days and reduced camp rosters.

The fifth change to fall camp in six years is expected to happen this month, as Sports Illustrated reported two weeks ago. Officials are poised to abolish long-standing collision drills, such as the Oklahoma Drill, and reduce the number of full-padded, contact practices and scrimmages that coaches can conduct in camp.

On Thursday, a subgroup of the NCAA Division I Football Oversight Committee is expected to recommend the changes to the Division I Council, which must okay the new rules at its May 19 meeting. Over the last two weeks, committee members have socialized the camp modifications across FBS and FCS conferences for feedback from hundreds of coaches.

As you can probably guess, coaches aren’t particularly thrilled by this.  (Then again, they’re not the ones hiring the lawyers to defend the suits arising out of head injuries.  But, I digress.)

Even former coaches aren’t particularly thrilled by this.  Welcome back a familiar, warm and cuddly face to the blog.

Enforcing these new rules could be a difficult endeavor, says Paul Johnson, the former Georgia Tech coach whose teams excelled at the triple option for decades. He calls the new rules “ridiculous” and believes that diminishing full-padded practices will not reduce contact as much as officials hope.

“If you ever go to practice, they scrimmage in shells and they play full speed in shells,” he says. “Some people are going to go by the rules and some won’t. Who’s going to stand out there and tell Nick Saban you’re over the time limit? The Alabama compliance person? They wouldn’t be there long.”

Grumble, grumble, cut blocking… something, something.  Wait, did the genius just call Nick Saban a cheater?  I’m sure Nick’s gonna lose a lot of sleep over that.


Filed under The Body Is A Temple, The NCAA

22 responses to ““But, as the old adage goes, safety first.”

  1. drunkenmonken

    I’m an old guy that never played football past high school. I remember like yesterday how drills such as Oklahoma and bull in the ring got practice going. We’d be dragging ass from heat or whatever and then when we did one of those drills everyone got enthused. Lots of yelling encouragement and other stuff. I still miss that.


    • Ran A

      Yeah – no. Dude I hated these drills. I was tall and lanky. Winning this damn thing, meant getting under the other guy and driving him back. I spent time looking at #’s, so I could turn quickly to whoever was coming at me. Won more than I lost – but dear Lord, I hated this drill.

      Liked by 2 people

    • We started out practice by taking salt tablets (long since found to be counter-productive) with a drink of water. If you asked for water after that, the coach would ask if you were “babying” yourself. No coach, just half delirious, but you thought that, didn’t say it.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Hogbody Spradlin

    Paul the Johnson is right about the enforcement. Why would Nick Saban listen to a A,abama employee nerd tell him he can’t do things when the NCAA has never dared peer into Alabama’s program during his tenure. I know I have a raw nerve for Bama, but . . .

    Liked by 1 person

    • Because if a kid gets hurt and sues, it’ll come out in discovery.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Granthams Replacement

        And everything is filmed from multiple angles. By 2035 football will be 7 on 7 with flags.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Football will no longer be played before that happens. Eventually, the dam is going to break on the CTE lawsuits. It isn’t going to be pretty when it happens.

          If they are playing 7 on 7 in 2035, there won’t be 90,000 paying fans to watch it in person and TV packages that will pay the debt service on the football Taj Mahals currently on campus.

          Liked by 2 people

          • Down Island Way

            Dooley Field at Sanford Stadium Driving Range and Tire Change….


          • KingMackeral

            I predicted several years (to some friends I have in Ireland) that the American football game will be replaced by Rugby.

            if that happens, it will change the international Rugby game forever and the American athletes would absolutely dominate after learning how to play,

            Liked by 1 person

            • Russ

              Speaking of rugby, you used to hear about teams (the Seahawks specifically) embracing rugby tackling techniques as a way to reduce head injuries. Seems like you can play football (like) rugby and reduce the head injuries but that isn’t the way it’s taught.

              Football will either change, or be forced to change.


  3. As with most things they do in this regard the law of unintended consequences will come into play and there will be more injuries in the season to make up for the lack of practice time to learn technique..

    Liked by 2 people

    • 123 Fake St

      I agree.
      Didn’t Richt try this one year and we were overwhelmed with injuries?

      Safety is important, but these summer practices and drills bring out leadership and toughness. It teaches awareness while going full speed and full strength.


      • Down Island Way

        We talkin’ ’bout practice, we talkin’ ’bout practice..i mean listen here, not a game, not a game, not a game…we talkin’ ’bout practice, not the game…

        Liked by 2 people

  4. Paul……isn’t wrong.


    • Derek

      One of Satan’s first acts as coach was after the “bump incident” went public and a compliance officer asked him to memorialize the incident in a memo.

      Satan made it clear, and loud enough for the entire building to hear, that it was the compliance officers job to tell the story in a way that fit the existing rules and not his job to memorialize the truth.

      Message sent. Message delivered.


  5. Does anyone know where they stand with helmet technology? I know there was a push for that a few years ago, but I haven’t heard anything in a while.


  6. BuffaloSpringfield

    The NFL is on the mother, new helmet designs ZERO2 Matrix and ZERO2 Trench. ( designed for lineman ) They use 3D imaging and at some point it’s going to come back on the player for not choosing to use the correct size, fitting as claimed by Manufacturers. All NLF players choose their helmet and the inward design. Some still wear inflatables. There was gross negligence in the 60’s 70’s in helmets. Cloth webbing gave way to inflatable inner tubes which had to have the correct pressure in all sections. By the early 90’s high schools were even reconditioning helmets each year. Proper fitting has always been a issue and should be done professionally. Unfortunately most high school coaches aren’t and don’t have staff to see this done properly. A lot of colleges fall still within that realm because of cost alone.
    After coaching 32 years and looking back there’s a lot of things I would do differently. Injuries are going to occur in a contact sport. Thinking back I probably witnessed more injuries in game situations than practice. Common sense within practicing helped or either we were just lucky. If you don’t practice contact there will be more injuries in a contact game. As a coach I never used Oklahoma or Bull in the ring more than once or twice a season. How exactly are you going to teach pad levels, blocking and tackling at full speed if it’s in game only?
    I understand the liability but this week alone 3 middle school kids died in baseball. One slide into a knee at 2nd. base and 2 were hit by pitches. There is gonna be contact. There is gonna be liability.
    The Deacon Jones, Dick Butkus, Jack Tatums, Ronnie Lott’s we’re tremendous players but were they educated in what football was doing to them? They played football for love of it was what they knew. Now players play to get to the league. $$$$ are in their eyes. Walt Garrison, a Cowboy great signed for $15,000 and a 2 horse in line trailer. Most old time NFL players had to have a 2nd. job as their pay for play was not enough to get by on. Garrison played 9 seasons and only missed 7 games. Average career in the NFL is now 3-4 years. They are either independently wealthy or independently broke, of mind and money.


    • James A Mercer Jr

      One of the best summations of the game that I have seen on here. And, of course, it had to be by a former coach. As one also, I have been down those roads, too. The Walt Garrison mention illustrates what a football player is supposed to be like…love of the game…it has faded over the years but it still separates the true player from the hot shots. Thanks for a good read, Buffalo.

      Liked by 1 person