New 90-minute rule won’t affect Pirates, Rattlers

Among the rule changes implemented by the University Interscholastic League this school year is the limitation of full-contact football drills to no more than 90 minutes each week.

Full contact is defined as drills where contact is at game speed and players are taken to the ground.

And while that may force some programs to alter their practice routine, it’s business as usual in Granbury and Tolar.

“Our theory is we’re going to do everything possible not to lose anyone to injury in practice,” said Granbury head coach Scotty Pugh.

“Our mottos on some days is nobody goes to the ground.”

It’s a similar situation in Tolar, where head coach Mike Franklin said the Rattlers, like the Pirates, do the bulk of their toughest workouts in the preseason. Once the regular season starts, each week is more fine-tuning for the next game.

Franklin said that the new rule has been “no big deal to us at all,” and it hasn’t really changed the way they they have been structuring practice time in recent seasons.

“I think this week we had 35 minutes in full pads, full contact,” Franklin said Wednesday. “We didn’t do any live hitting Monday, and little yesterday.”

Like Granbury, overall awareness of keeping players safe has been a top factor.

“We can’t afford to get people hurt,” Franklin said. “Our kids know how to turn it on on Friday night. We don’t need to beat ourselves up. We’re going to stay healthy.”

Pugh said that while practice is always a necessity in between games, going too hard can have a detrimental effect come game time.

“If we go into a game after beating the dog out of each other all week, what good does that do us?” he said.

“Some people do that, but I don’t believe in it. We can do the same thing with dummies a lot of the time that we can do hitting each other.”

Franklin noted that activities such as “form tackling” drills and sled blocking are not included in the new rule, and he made sure to get clarification of that with UIL officials at the recent coaching school.

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