Things change and so does football.
However, Dartmouth head coach Buddy Teevens is concerned that unless coaches, leagues and conferences adapt, the game may drive itself to oblivion.
“I say this to other coaches quite often, ‘You don’t go to school to coach, you pretty much coach based on what you were coached to do as a player,’” he said. “At some point we need to step back and just say, ‘Maybe there is a better way,’ especially in light of concussive awareness and so forth. ... If we don’t change the way we coach the game we will not have a game to coach. I really believe that.”
Teevens and his staff teach plenty of tackling, but not with other players. Because of safety concerns, the Big Green use dummies, pads and other approaches.
During their annual meeting recently the Ivy League’s coaches agreed to eliminate full-contact during regular-season practices. The measure is expected to be implemented this season. This comes five years after the league reduced the number full-contact practices teams can conduct.
Meanwhile, the NCAA continues to implement rules to try to better protect players.
RULE CHANGES TO WATCH IN 2016
- Replay officials may stop games and assign targeting fouls “where an egregious action occurred and was missed by on-field officials.”
- Electronic devices will be allowed inside press boxes and locker rooms during games, but not on the field or sideline.
- Rules pertaining to low blocks were adjusted to prohibit a player who leaves the tackle box from blocking below the waist toward the initial position of the ball.
- Rules pertaining to a defenseless player will include ball carriers who have clearly given themselves up by sliding feet first.
- The deliberate tripping of a ball carrier with the leg will be a penalty.
- Officials will be instructed to “stringently enforce” the 3-yard limit regarding ineligible receivers downfield.
Above: A tackling dummy in action during a Dartmouth spring practice. (Courtesy Dartmouth Athletics)