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Rules changes likely to change football preparation

Published: Friday, March 29, 2013 11:31 a.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, March 29, 2013 11:32 a.m. CDT

dependent on heat,” Ergenbright said. “I’ve always felt that Iowa coaches do a great job trying to consider the temperature and realize they can’t run kids into the ground on the first day of two-a-days. You’re not going to have much of a team to work with if you do that.”

All of the responsibility won’t lie just on the coaches, however. Two-a-days were often used to help get players into shape after a stagnant summer. However, with the new rules, the players will have to take more responsibility to ensure they’re in the proper shape before the first practices begin.

“I think the kids are going to have to show up to camp in better shape than they were in the past,” Ergenbright said. “You don’t want to spend an hour of your time in practice doing conditioning, so this really puts a premium on your summer workouts and conditioning.”

Another change concerned the timeline for contact in practices. Only helmets and mouthguards will be allowed in the first two days of practice. Full pads for blocking and technique drills can be used in the third to fifth practices, but full contact will not be allowed until the sixth day of practice. This has given some coaches more pause than losing two-a-days, although the equalizing factor is all teams must adhere to these rules effective this fall.

“My biggest concern is how long it’s going to take for us to put pads on and what we can do once we have pads on,” Collins-Maxwell-Baxter football coach Rob Luther said. “We need to start teaching tackling and doing that kind of stuff, but everybody’s playing by the same rules, so we just need to adjust our practice schedule.”

Iowa now joins several states that passed such precautions in 2012, but Ergenbright feels most of the issue stems from current players simply not being as accustomed to the heat as players 20 years ago. While this could be an adjustment for teams across the state at first, the fact remains that it is a safety issue at heart.

“It came out of left field,” Ergenbright said. “I know a lot of coaches were talking about it and the National High School Football Association has looked at it for years, and I think it’ll be tougher on kids that don’t prepare well over summer.

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