Over the past few years all stages of football from Pop Warner to the NFL have become more aware and concerned about head injuries and helmet-to-helmet hits.
Just three weeks into the season, two SEC defensive backs—Ole Miss’ Trae Elston and South Carolina’s D.J. Swearinger—have been suspended for making illegal hits.
Before the season started, officials stopped by SEC programs to explain the severity, repercussions and the new helmet rule that mandates a player leave the field for making such a hit.
“We were all shown when the officials came in and met with our team you know, things that, hitting someone in the head or leading with your head, either way, no matter what you hit him with, are going to be things that we just can’t tolerate,” Alabama coach Nick Saban said. “And I think that’s in the interest of player safety.”
No Alabama player has been called for a helmet-to-helmet hit this season, although linebacker Nico Johnson did get called out for roughing the passer in the Michigan game.
“We had one hit in the first game that I thought was just a good ol’ football hit,” Saban said. “But the guy didn’t really hit the guy in the head, but he almost hit him in the head, but they called a foul and suspended him. It wasn’t flagrant or anything, but the players understand that.”
Linebacker Adrian Hubbard was asked his thoughts on the rules of these illegal hits.
“Football is football,” he said. “You can’t control helmet-to-helmet contact, it’s gonna happen. And if it happens, just take the penalty and keep it moving.”
The Saban Shuffle
Earlier this week, JUCO transfer cornerback Deion Belue said he wasn’t used to Saban’s “shuffle” technique demanded from the corners.
Asked if this was something special and unique to how he coaches, Saban chuckled.
“There is no Saban Shuffle,” he said. “That’s just how you play bump and run. It’s getting your second step on the ground so your feet are together.
“This is not really anything that has anything to do with me. It’s fundamental, basic movement. I’m sure there’s Phys. Ed teachers trying to teach this in the first grade, so I’m sorry Deion Belue didn’t get someone to get to him before I did.”
Freddy vs. Jason
The winner of Wednesday night’s presser was left tackle Cyrus Kouandjio. When asked how his brother Arie, who missed almost all of last season and sat out this past spring with multiple knee injuries, is doing, he said he’s proud of his brother and then said this little golden nugget:
“A lot of the athletic trainers talk about him a lot. They call him Jason, out of Freddy vs. Jason, because he just keeps on coming,” Cyrus said. “They cut up both his knees, they chop ‘em up real good and he just keeps on coming. You know he’s out there, he’s playing and he’s doing good, and he’s getting pancakes and big blocks.
“I love his attitude because he can’t be stopped with such a good attitude.”
That being the final question of the night, the media was simply left to ponder the hilarity of the analogy.
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