Less contact at football practice

Word came from a meeting of Pac-12 presidents in Park City, Utah that the league wants to limit the number of hits and contact in football practices in an effort to reduce the number of concussions.

Commissioner Larry Scott told the AP that the conference has closely studied the NFL’s efforts to reduce concussions and will come up with its own plan.

The details on how the conference will enforce this are still being worked out. Are you limiting contact or are you limiting practice? There are plenty of periods within a practice that do not involve contact.

If you go forward with contact within a period, how do you limit the hits? Are you going to establish a set number of contact snaps within what is considered a “contact” period?

This will be interesting to follow. You may remember Hal Mumme had a no-contact or extremely limited approach to contact in practice. By the way, his teams were finesse, not physical, and he was 10-22 in SEC games at Kentucky, where he no longer coaches. NCAA allegations were a story line for his resignation.

Most of daily Ole Miss practice is closed to media viewing – a policy at most schools – but from what we can see, it appears to me Ole Miss does a good job of controlling contact in practices. They just about had a no-contact spring game. There are periods of practice with no contact and there are plays within different sessions where the whistle is blown early and defenders are told to wrap-up and not tackle all the way to the ground.

That may not sound like much, but if you know you’re not tackling to the ground, then you’re automatically not approaching an offensive player at full-speed, and therefore the collisions are a lot less violent.

The concussion question is a sticky one for football at all levels. The game has to be safe, but much of the appeal for its players and fans alike comes from the violence.

Denham Springs, La., native, Mississippian since 1989 with a stop in Meridian before arriving in Tupelo. Daily Journal beat writer since 1996, covering Ole Miss since 2002. Proud Northeast Louisiana alum. Follow me on Twitter @parrishalford and listen to John Davis and myself daily with The Ole Miss Beat on Rebel Sports Radio.

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