One of the National Football League’s most well-known drills might be going the way of the dinosaur. In an effort to reduce concussions, the league has asked teams to stop using the Oklahoma drill, according to Kevin Seifert of ESPN.
The drill, which pits an offensive lineman against a defensive lineman, is meant to simulate close quarters and hard contact. There are usually pads placed on each side of those linemen, giving them a small area to attack each other. Sometimes, the drill features a ball carrier who tries to shoot through the small gap.
It looks something like this:
As that video highlight shows, the hard contact involved in the drill makes it a measure of toughness in football.
The short-burst, high-impact hits, however, are exactly the reason the league wants those drills to stop. In December 2017, the league and the NFLPA partnered to enforce a new concussion strategy.
While concussions were down during the 2018 season, the league didn’t see much of an improvement during training camp. It believes the Oklahoma drill played a part in that.
Some old-school coaches may be resistant to those changes, but the overall health of their players should be the No. 1 priority. It’s one thing to demand toughness from your players, it’s another to lose one of your stars to a brain injury before the regular season even starts.
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