Sunday, October 4, 2015

Coaches change tackling as they tackle the new rules.

Action and reaction, such is the nature of warfare.  The NFL and NCAA are changing the nature of football as they pass more rules favoring offense, limiting defense, and targeting targeting.  Oddly enough, football coaches are borrowing a few ideas from rugby and Australian rules football as they seek to help defenses regain their edge.  It is no coincidence that the rise of Seattle and Ohio State to championship status began when they imported the different style of tackling.  The Wall Street Journal published a thorough article on the "new" style of tackling:

Yet despite rugby’s primeval appearance and violent reputation, some of football’s most forward-thinking coaches say it is actually light years ahead when it comes to one of the few skills these sports still have in common: the art of tackling.

“When you talk about tackling with efficiency, tackling with power, what they’re doing is really remarkable,” said Seattle Seahawks assistant coach Rocky Seto.

Thanks to everything from the evolution of spread offenses to new laws limiting contact in practice, American football coaches have spent the past few years wrestling over how to halt the bigger, faster athletes that are popping up across the field.

The answer, it seems, may be found in rugby, a sport invented in 1823 whose players have spent the better part of two centuries perfecting the craft of bringing down ball-carriers in space. The Seahawks began studying rugby for tips on tackling in 2012 and became so enamored with their effectiveness that coach Pete Carroll subsequently released an instructional video (posted below) on YouTube urging other coaches to adopt its superior, safer techniques.

It didn’t take long for the idea to spread. Ohio State implemented rugby-style tackling in the build-up to the 2014 college-football season and proceeded to miss fewer tackles than any team in the country on the way to a national title, according to Buckeyes coach Urban Meyer.

Rugby techniques have subsequently been introduced at Washington, Florida and Michigan State, whose head coach Mark Dantonio used a coaching clinic in Connecticut earlier this year to extol the benefits of rugby-style tackling. “After watching the tapes, I personally am thinking of going to Australia to get some of those dudes,” Dantonio said. “They knock the stuffing out of people.”...

While football evolved into a downhill game of pulverizing collisions at the line of scrimmage, laws forbidding the forward pass meant that rugby developed as a game of lateral movement. To find holes in the defense, teams must switch the ball quickly from one side of the field to the other, meaning tackles are rarely delivered head-on. Defenders must corral opponents from every conceivable angle. “It’s a different way of defending,” said Tom Youngs, a member of England’s squad for the upcoming World Cup. “In the NFL, they’re all set up to [tackle] whereas I may be wide or in different positions. We have to be better defenders in space.”.....

The importance of tackling means rugby coaches don’t merely devote portions of every training session to tackling drills, says Ireland national team player Dave Kearney. They have also subjected the tackle to the sort of exhaustive analysis that football coaches have spent decades pouring into the passing game. Rugby coaches say the simple act of taking a ball carrier to the ground can be divided into six sub-categories, ranging from a textbook “profile tackle,” in which the defender makes contact with the near pectoral region of the ball carrier, to “smother tackles,” where two players combine to bring down a runner.

What these different tackles have in common is they involve leading with the shoulder, placing your head behind the opponent, wrapping them around the thighs and generally bringing ball carriers to a sudden halt. “In rugby, we break it down into six different types of tackling drills,” said Norris. “I bet you if you asked football coaches how many different types of drills they do for tackling, a lot of them wouldn’t even understand the question.”

As advanced as rugby tackling may be, athletes in both sports agree that no one knows how to deliver a lick quite like an NFL linebacker. But at a time when fears about contact and hits to the head have put football under pressure over its safety record, Ohio State defensive coordinator Chris Ash says shifting from highlight-reel hits to a more technique-focused style of tackling makes sense. “It’s not only a more effective way to tackle, it’s a safer way to tackle,” said Ash, who was instrumental in the Buckeyes’ transition to rugby tackling last year....

But American football coaches say rugby tackling clearly cuts down on the number of dangerous head-to-head collisions. While football players have traditionally been coached to tackle “head across the body, up-high wrap and squeeze,” Ash said, rugby tackling positions the head behind the ball carrier and the contact spot is lower. “So the biggest difference is there are fewer blows to the head,” he said.

The transition from football to rugby tackling isn’t always easy. Even after convincing players to try something different, coaches must confront the practical challenge of figuring out how to train them properly in the art of wrap-up tackling at a time when the sport has curbed the amount of contact allowed in practice.

Through resourceful coaching and some slightly unusual drills, however, it’s possible to reprogram players in the space of a single off-season. Ohio State players spent days practicing on their knees to perfect their approach to the tackle, while Florida has practiced with giant foam rings imported from Australia to improve their tackling techniques and teach correct head position.

“Philosophically, everything they’ve been taught in the game of football and how you tackle, we’re going against that,” said Ash. “But I’m 100% convinced that [rugby tackling] is the way of the future.”  Rest of article.  


Anonymous said...

Pass defense is still brutal and targeting.

Mommas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up To Play Football said...

Not to worry. Football will be a distant memory ten years from now. Been to a college game lately? Every male you see prior to the games is sissified. Students, visitors, tail-gaters, corn-holers, you name it. It's the metro-sexual plague. Skinny-jeans, horn-rimmed glasses and half a can of hair mousse. Parents have shunned football for years now and you won't see any allowing their boys to suit up in years to come.

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Trollfest '09

Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).

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In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.

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Relax at the Fox News Tent. Since there are only three blonde reporters in Jackson (being blonde is a requirement for working at Fox News), Megan and Kathryn from WAPT and Wendy from WLBT will be on loan to Fox. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both and a torn-up Obama yard sign will entitle you to free drinks served by Megan, Wendy, and Kathryn. Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required. Just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '09 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

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Trollfest '07

Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

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