NFL hopes ban on Oklahoma drill trickles down to all levels of football

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The NFL’s decision to tell coaches to stop using the Oklahoma drill in practice isn’t just about preventing NFL players from getting hurt. It’s also about the safety of the game at all levels.

Competition Committee Chairman Rich McKay said the Oklahoma drill — a longtime staple of summer football practice at all levels of the sport — tends to feature the kinds of repeated head-to-head collisions that the league wants to encourage coaches at every level to limit.

“I think for me, what I liked the most about trying to eliminate some of these drills is hopefully the message it sends downstream to youth football, to high school football, to college football,” McKay said. “It will be their choice to see what they do with some of these drills. But, I would tell you some of these drills exist in high school football in a big way and I am not sure these drills are necessary.”

The Oklahoma drill was once beloved by players and coaches alike, but it’s increasingly viewed as a drill whose risks outweigh the rewards — and a drill that will not be part of football at any level for much longer.

52 responses to “NFL hopes ban on Oklahoma drill trickles down to all levels of football

  1. How do you learn to tackle properly when you take out all the tackling drills teaching the proper technique?

    I mean honestly the saying practice makes perfect is around for a reason.

  2. I’ll be glad when they get rid of blocking and tackling altogether.
    I mean, it’s all so violent.
    Sniff.

  3. if only we could come up with a way to stop these guys from using their bodies as weapons and start actual tackling….
    there is a reason that Bill Belichik never, NEVER signs / plays people that can’t wrap up and tackle.
    Lose the pads and helmets and force these guys to learn the art of wrapping up… (pssst, head to the side) and concussions will disappear form the game

  4. It’s been my experience that players at all levels need high impact practice to get their bodies use to the hits. Removing high impact drills will likely cause players to be less conditioned for impact hits in the game.

    It’s been also my experience that most of an Oklahoma drill is practically sumo wrestling. It’s only the initial impact that is the problem.

    Why not implement modified Oklahoma drills that gradually increases the impact as well as focuses on avoiding helmet to helmet impact. Helmet impact going to happen….you can’t avoid it….but at least you can coach them in these drill to initiate impact with their head the side. This way you teach the players proper technique while getting their bodies ready for impact football.

  5. The softer they make the game the easier it is to achieve parity. This has zero to do with “player safety”

  6. I’m all for player safety, but you have to have drills to determine who is good at football, Right. Those drills really separated who was tough from who was not. I guess nowadays teams can just play really intense games of patty cake to see who is tough.

  7. The offensive player is just as much or more to blame than the defensive player. Defensive players launch because it’s the only way to not be the one taking the brunt of the tackling blow from the runner lowering their head with steam.

  8. kcflake says:
    May 24, 2019 at 4:17 pm
    I’m all for player safety, but you have to have drills to determine who is good at football, Right. Those drills really separated who was tough from who was not.
    _____________________
    Yes and no. From my memory, the Oklahoma drill was always more about who could act tough, rather who was football tough. There’s a difference between the kind of hitting that will make you an effective football player and the kind of reckless hitting that makes a pop during Oklahoma.

  9. Is there some ridiculous, over-the-top, extra dangerous version of the Oklahoma drill that I haven’t seen over the years? When I played, it was one DL/LB trying to shed a block of a OL/FB/whatever and tackle the RB. i.e. exactly what happens on every run play.

  10. joeychittwood says:

    May 24, 2019 at 3:52 pm

    if only we could come up with a way to stop these guys from using their bodies as weapons and start actual tackling….
    there is a reason that Bill Belichik never, NEVER signs / plays people that can’t wrap up and tackle

    ‐————————-!!!

    Patriots fan myself but this is total BS. He drafted Brandon Merryweather. Almost all the helmet to helmet changes came after his hit to Todd Heap and all the other cheap shots he used to make. Granted it was not against the rules at that time but that is why they are there now.

  11. Poor tackling technique from the lack of practice is more dangerous than any drill. When will the NFL admit that the shrinking shoulder pads leave the head more exposed to contact?

  12. Now if only they’d ban that millennial weirdo Kingsbury from allowing “social media” breaks at practice.

    No lack of an Oklahaoma drill is gonna stop a MAN like Vic Fangio from putting cigarettes out on bubble players necks and telling “Get off my lawn!” to fans at training camp.

  13. Pretty soon, the Super Bowl wont matter.

    All teams will get a participant trophy!

    smh

  14. superfanentertainment says:
    May 24, 2019 at 5:12 pm
    Now if only they’d ban that millennial weirdo Kingsbury from allowing “social media” breaks at practice.

    **************************************************************************

    Didn’t know being born in the 70’s makes you a millennial now.

  15. The next simple step is to eliminate contact all together or in other words 7 on 7 flag. Change the NFL to the NLoP.

  16. About time coaches are more concerned with proper athletics and technique, rather meathead nonesense.

  17. mmmpierogi says:
    May 24, 2019 at 5:33 pm
    superfanentertainment says:
    May 24, 2019 at 5:12 pm
    Now if only they’d ban that millennial weirdo Kingsbury from allowing “social media” breaks at practice.

    **************************************************************************

    Didn’t know being born in the 70’s makes you a millennial now.

    ****************

    Yeah well I didn’t know a guy born in the 70s could ACT like a millennial.

  18. “It’s been my experience that players at all levels…”

    Really? Please describe the football experience you have either playing or coaching at all levels of the game. I’m betting it is zero.

  19. So your supposed to learn how to avoid tackling wrong during the game? That sound like a great idea, already more torn ACLs since theyimited pre season practices, you saw those go up almost the first year plus just more season ending injuries period. Just go to half speed and flags and then close it all down in a few years

  20. OVERBLOWN. Albert Breer at MMQB specifically said he’s been to every team’s OTAs and training camps for the past decade and nobody runs these drills at the NFL level anymore. Coaches told him the “ban” is largely just symbolic and sending a message to lower level football.

    But hey, FACTS won’t stop internet tough guys from crying here like babies.

  21. “All teams will get a participation trophy!”

    Get out of here with your whining about participation trophies. Please tell us what is wrong with a small child receiving a token for being part of a team.

    You are the kind of guy who screams at six year old children so you can feel more like a man.

  22. Who died and made Rick McKay king of football?

    The Oklahoma drill is good for one or two days every training camp, not every practice. It’s the ultimate test that shows who’s got it and who doesn’t.

  23. Venomraider says “Fit them with flags already and be done with it.”
    ————————-

    I dare you to stand and take just one tackle from Watt, Von Miller or Suh. ONE. Heck, I’ll even make it easier for you and give you a smaller, older guy like Clay Matthews.

  24. Players ought to take lessons from rugby players on safe tackling techniques. They don’t use helmets and almost always wrap up tackle.

  25. To the people who support this or criticize people who say put flags on them ha e never played football. I dont mean be on the team and cheer for your team, I mean play. OK drills are fundamental in shedding 1-on-1 blocks to get to a ball carrier. It isnt an wvery day drill but first coule practices it is beneficial especially with the younger rookies.

  26. The Oklahoma drill changed the trajectory of my HS career as I look back now at 52 yrs old. It taught one to be smart, tough and willing. I recall having to go against who I knew the coaches viewed as their starter coming into the season. Beating him multiple times had their heads turning towards. I’m really not sure what issue is with the OK drill. We installed this with a Pee Wee team I helped Coach and I was astonished how many would rise to the occasion. I really do think it can bring out the best in some as it did in me once upon a time.

  27. Ah so don’t practice running and tackling 1×1 but let it happen during games over and over? Sounds like a smart idea…..not

  28. “They do realize the ultimate safety measure will be to stop playing the games at all, right? If safety is all that matters, just eliminate the sport.”

    ___

    Don’t look now…

  29. cardinealsfan20 says:
    May 24, 2019 at 6:22 pm
    “All teams will get a participation trophy!”

    Please tell us what is wrong with a small child receiving a token for being part of a team.
    ===================================================

    Gives the kids false hope.

    COMPETE

    1) to strive to outdo another for acknowledgment, a prize, supremacy, profit, etc.; engage in a contest.

    Why don’t you tell us what compete means to you?

  30. We learned to tackle without pads as kids. Head to the side and drill the guy. Wrap up in the process. Problem is, these kids only play organized football with helmets. When was the last time you saw kids playing tackle football? We did it Gym class in HS.

    As far as Pop Warner: When I was 12 we did ‘head-ons’. You stand 20 to 30 feet apart and meet in the middle, head down. We were offered $10 if we cracked a helmet. One guy got paid.

    We did the same drills through HS. The Oklahoma drills we did too. They actually do hurt more than a game and you can totally pound a guy who really shouldn’t be out there (thus part of reason for the drill) but aren’t even remotely in the league as head-ons.

  31. NFFL=National Flag Football League.

    I practiced in the Oklahoma drill for years. Never took a ding to the head. If you learn to block and tackle with proper technique, you don’t use your head.
    Some of the bozo coaches started the ‘go through ’em’ idea leading with the head and a generation of head injuries happened. I never had a concussion.

  32. By all means, limit any chance for injury. Then drop their pay to $1000 a game. No risk, no reward.

  33. Oklahoma drills were one of my favorite parts of practice. Apparently now they expect coaches to watch players practice proper technique when they scrimmage. That makes sense, but it’s not as much fun as shedding a blocker and nailing a runner one-on-one (or getting completely run over by the RB, not that it ever happened to me).

  34. Ed Halverson says:
    May 24, 2019 at 9:09 pm
    cardinealsfan20 says:
    May 24, 2019 at 6:22 pm
    “All teams will get a participation trophy!”

    Please tell us what is wrong with a small child receiving a token for being part of a team.
    ===================================================

    Gives the kids false hope.

    COMPETE

    1) to strive to outdo another for acknowledgment, a prize, supremacy, profit, etc.; engage in a contest.

    Why don’t you tell us what compete means to you?
    ________________

    False hope of what? Having fun with their friends and classmates? Learning to be part of a team? The hope of being abused by power drunk adults like you is not the kind of hope children need.

    It is sickening that you want small children to compete for supremacy and profit. Supremacy over who, other children? Profit derived from what, winning a youth league football game?

    You conveniently failed to include a response as to why you scream at six year old children to make yourself feel more like a man. Quit taking out your inadequacies on your and other people’s children.

  35. granadafan says:
    May 24, 2019 at 6:43 pm
    Players ought to take lessons from rugby players on safe tackling techniques. They don’t use helmets and almost always wrap up tackle.
    ————
    You nailed it on the head (pun not intended) bud. Players ‘launch’ instead of tackle these days. Maybe not like they did 5 years ago losing in ESPNs ‘jacked up’ for big hits but they want to dislodge the ball. And I get creating a turnover, but they’re doing more harm to themselves/others most of the time.
    Take the helmets off, go back to leather or Rugby style head gear and players will learn to tackle again.

  36. There is something wrong with the idea that you have a sport where tackling is required but is not allowed to be taught.

    Tackling is a violent act that if done properly is not actually that dangerous. I know that sounds strange, but it is true. Proper form tackles are not only safer but they are more efficient and effective.

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