USC Football to Benefit From New Pac-12 Rules Reducing Contact in Practices



In a report from the Associated Press on Monday evening, the Pac-12 clued in the media to the formation of new policies that are aimed at reducing contact in football practices throughout the conference.

The new rules, which have been inspired by similar restrictions in the NFL, won’t be formally announced until the Pac-12’s annual Media Day on July 26th, and are being put in place to reduce injuries suffered in practice. Needless to say, that’s a welcome sign for Lane Kiffin and the USC Trojans, who are saddled with reduced numbers due to NCAA sanctions.

Just two months ago, the Trojans had more than 20 players miss the spring game due to injuries, furthering the burden of carrying a 75-man roster limit.

The result is that Kiffin has opted for non-contact practices on numerous occasions, in addition to the last two spring games. While the decision has been solely at the discretion of the USC coaching staff and done so with the intent of maintaining good health, limiting hits in practice has an adverse effect on tackling.

The new contact restrictions, which likely won’t change a thing that USC does since they’re already limiting contact, helps the Trojans as it allows for uniformity within the conference. Moving forward, it won’t just be USC that sees their work on tackling reduced, which could be more poor tackling league-wide and lessen the spotlight on the Trojans’ struggles at wrapping up.

The Pac-12 is gladly risking a setback in tackling, as they prioritize concussion awareness and look to curb season-ending injuries. The policies will include what the conference is calling a ‘Head Trauma Task Force’, which will see out extensive research that will be used to attempt to prevent concussions and other head traumas within the conference.

Though, as commissioner Larry Scott acknowledges, not all injuries can be avoided, including those like the torn ACL that Tre Madden suffered last spring, when he crumpled to the ground untouched. These policies and proactive steps at addressing head trauma and creating uniformity in the conference is a step in the right direction however, as it should pay dividends in terms of both health and competitive balance.