In a close decision, the Brigham Young Cougars are better off practicing without pads/hitting. Just 40% of voters, however, replied “Yes,” while 37% voted “No.” The other 23% were undecided.
I hate to do it, but I am truly undecided on this issue.
Head coach Bronco Mendenhall has given his reasons for practicing without pads, except for team scrimmages, this year. He said the team was able to get more done, focus on technique, minimize injuries, and it mimics how the professionals practice.
I have some reservations about this method.
1. Can the offensive and defensive lines be properly evaluated if there is no contact? Line play is very important in football games. Poor blocking will mess up everything on offense. Poor defensive line penetration will hurt the defense.
2. How close to game speed is BYU practicing? If making contact is being discouraged, then the defensive players are forced to hold a little back. They aren’t playing at full speed. Again, this makes it difficult to evaluate the progress of the team as a whole.
I think it is fine if Mendenhall wanted to increase the number of days in helmets or helmets and shoulder pads, but it seems a little too extreme that only two days the team was in full pads.
Of course, it will all depend on the results. If BYU jumps out to a 4-0 record, then it was a great decision. If BYU is 2-2 after four games, then the method will be open to criticism.
Thank you to everyone who voted. Don’t forget to vote in this week’s poll: “Who will score the first points of the season for BYU?”
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