ARLINGTON, Va. — Bruce Hanson remembers what that was prefer to beat high school football 50 years ago and knows what it’s favor to coach that today. A huge difference is in the drills.

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“We provided to hit in practice every day” in the 1960s, Hanson says. “We nothing do call drills anymore. Ago then we’d say, ‘We’ve gained to get tougher.’ Well, tougher graduated. Currently we’re more concerned with method and schemes.”

Hanson was recruited to wilhelm & mar by Marv Levy and played over there under Lou Holtz, who called him a captain. Hanson simply finished his 46th season of coaching high institution football and 33rd as head coach at Yorktown High School. He is won much more than 250 gamings as head coach at two colleges and, in ~ 67, is one old-school coach through a new-age philosophy. “Winning is important,” the says. “Safety is more important.”


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Last week, Hanson had actually his Patriots go through some of the drills that yesteryear, but with no yes, really hitting. The idea to be to present USA this day Sports exactly how it offered to be. The Patriots, who finished 8-3, have actually been schooled just how to block and also tackle through their shoulders and also never lead through their heads. They can scarcely believe the head-first battering-ram drills of one more age.


They simulated bull-in-the-ring, wherein one player gets in the middle of a one of various other players, that take transforms hitting the guy in the middle; the Oklahoma drill, wherein a to run back, attack lineman and also defensive lineman vie gladiatorially in a confined space; and also triple butt, whereby a tackler buries his head in the numbers of an progressing runner native 10 yards away together they circle around pylons to repeat the call twice more.

That critical one was favored by Holtz at william & Mary, Hanson says. He remembers the contrary high institution teams running bull-in-the-ring on the field prior to games in the 1970s.

“The idea to be to heat up and also toughen up and also get pumped up,” Hanson says. “If friend can think that.”

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"Sucking on her jersey"

Even in the NFL, contact in techniques is often restricted in recent years. New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton says that’s a an excellent thing. The notes suitable tackling deserve to be teach at nearby quarters, quite than breakneck collisions native yards apart, together of yore.

“The distance between those associated has obtained smaller,” Payton says. “I can be a garden away and we can teach the fit. Man, I can remember in university somewhere as soon as I was an assistant and they to be running” full speed at one another. “We to be the moms in the auto with a young son without a seatbelt, smoking cigarettes a cigarette, pregnant with No. 2. That’s what it to be like earlier then. It was ignorance. … It was like, ‘We’re at the beach, you’ve got some sunburn, let’s put some Noxzema top top it.’ the was me. Us didn’t know any kind of better. ‘Eat her toast in the morning. White bread and jam.’ all sugar. We didn’t know. And also I quiet crave white bread with strawberry jam. I was raised on it.”

Payton, 53, remembers soaking his jersey with water as a player for this reason he can sneak part hydration. “Look, we didn’t drink water,” that says. “It was like, ‘Only as soon as we take it a break.’ that was regarded as a authorize of weakness and also you’d be sucking on her jersey.”

Payton praises Pete Carroll, the Seattle Seahawks coach that evangelizes rugby-style tackling, where the emphasis is on leading v the shoulder so the head is never a suggest of contact.

Payton coached his son Connor’s sixth-grade team in 2012, when Payton sat out the NFL season ~ above suspension. “The one point we want to execute was to teach them suitable fundamentals,” he says, “so that it was safe, they had actually fun and wanted come play again in seventh grade.”


Don"t have to prove toughness

Levy, ideal known for coaching the Buffalo bills to four consecutive Super key losses in the 1990s, says development is a natural part of football, as it is in life.

“Everything transforms over time,” levy says, “whether it’s football, transportation, medicine.”

Levy, 92, states he was significantly influenced by the career of Bud Wilkinson, finest known because that leading the college of Oklahoma come a record 47-game success streak in the 1950s.

“He to be the very first I know who claimed a man didn’t have to prove every work how hard he is,” raise says. “He had a good idea the the balance around when to go hard and when to simply prepare for her opponent and also learn your assignment.”


But Wilkinson is additionally the one that popularized the go-hard Oklahoma drill, so called for the institution where that coached it. The drill is straightforward but brutal. A tight area is cordoned turn off by blocking dummies 3 yards apart. A running back lines increase behind a blocker who encounters off against a tackler. The blocker and tackler try to drive with each other. Helmet-popping collisions are frequently the result.


Drills the make girlfriend cringe

Nebraska coach Mike Riley played at Alabama under be affected by each other Bryant. He states there space “drills indigenous the old days, even ones ns participated in, that would certainly make everyone cringe today.”

He remembers at one coaching stop early on in his 42-year job “one of the coaching point out we supplied to tell kids was, ‘Hit with your face.’ Those room words that would certainly be taboo today.”


Riley, 64, recalls a drill wherein players would certainly line up 10 yards apart and run full speed into one another: “And the emphasis from the coach was, ‘Put her head in there.’ ns don’t know just how somebody didn’t rest a neck.”

Riley alerts parents versus trusting your young football player “to someone who wants to it is in the following Vince Lombardi however doesn’t actually know anything about making the game safe. Together a parental or grandparent, i don’t care around what offense or defense you run, however I desire to know you to be trained in just how to play the game and how come teach the game.”

Riley states he speak to athletic trainers and also doctors 10 times as regularly as he provided to. “That’s a good thing,” the says. “We acquire a medical report daily, which never used to happen.” and also if a concussion is suspected, “once the word is lugged up girlfriend don’t enter into any kind of decision about him playing until the doctors provide him back. There can never also be a discussion in between you and also the player. And that’s good, due to the fact that this is not a coach’s area the expertise.”

Hanson, the high college coach, seconds that emotion. He says athletic trainers on website for practices and games is liberating for coaches.

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“Any kind of injury before, as a high institution coach, you had actually to address it yourself,” Hanson says. “If a kid had a damaged arm, you had to call the rescue people and also make a determination of what happened. Now a soccer coach in north Virginia has no decisions to make about injuries or concussions. If a kid comes to you and tell you he is hurt, friend send him come the trainer.”

The drills are various now, however one thing never ever changes.

“The kids are the same,” Hanson says. “The quantity of info they have is so much more, yet the children are the exact same as they ever before were.”