Football coach wants to revamp IHSA rule changes

Published 08/25 2013 06:26PM

Updated 08/26 2013 10:35AM

URBANA -- Some coaches feel the plan to make summer football practices safer needs to be reviewed. The IHSA made changes this summer. They're designed to better protect players from injuries while easing them into the summer heat.

It basically required coaches to retool how they got ready for the season. Practice time was cut down, the equipment players wear is regulated, and, just like his team, one coach feels the policy could also use some fine-tuning. The sounds and sights of Friday nights are just a week away.

"Looking forward to everything, especially our quarterback,” said senior running back/wide receiver James Cobbs. “I can't wait to get out there and run some routes for him."

But before he can shine under the lights, Cobbs and his teammates need to sharpen their skills at practice, in a way they're all still getting used to.

"The time limit was definitely a big thing,” said Cobbs.

"If you had multiple sessions, there had to be two hours of rest in between," said Urbana head coach Nathan Watson.

The summer session this August saw practices shortened by an hour. Only helmets were allowed the first few days, then shoulder pads, then full gear.

"You definitely feel better. You're less sore, of course, because you're practicing less,” Cobbs noticed.

Coach Watson agrees with the idea of putting player safety first, but he questions how quickly the changes happened. Specifically, why there's more practice time allowed in June and July instead of August.

"I would give up some of those contact days and I think most coaches would in order start early like August 1st and really get the kids acclimated to the heat," said Watson. "I kind of wish they would have talked to the coaches a little bit more. I think we could have come up with a better plan. I think this plan's ok but it could be made better."

Coach Watson says he plans on putting his ideas together in a proposal. He'll give it to the IHSA once the season is done.

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