PREP FOOTBALL

Rule changes affect early football practices

2013-08-13T19:00:00Z 2013-09-16T18:32:13Z Rule changes affect early football practicesMike Nieto mike.nieto@nwi.com, (219) 933-3232 nwitimes.com
August 13, 2013 7:00 pm  • 

Though everyone is in the same boat, it doesn't mean the passengers are happy.

When football practice begins today around the state, it will be different since the Illinois High School Association put in place its acclimatization policy period.

Today through Monday teams can have no contact and cannot wear pads, but can wear helmets. The afternoon practice is no more, replaced by a walk through.

Crete-Monee linebacker Nyles Morgan, one of the top prep linebackers in the country, said it does alter some things, but everyone must follow the rules.

"All team are affected, so it doesn't give one and advantage over another," Morgan said. "Everyone suffers."

The Warriors are defending Class 6A state champs.

State Sen. Napoleon Harris (D-Flossmoor), who starred at Thornton and Northwestern as well as for the Kansas City Chiefs, Oakland Raiders and Minnesota Vikings, said safety should be a priority, but football requires contact.

"I realize what the IHSA is doing and everybody is for putting the kids' safety first, but this is football," Harris said. "You have to have some contact to condition your body for the hits it will take. You have to get accustomed to the hits and learn how to tackle properly."

T.F. South coach Tom Padjen agreed everyone is set back because in the past, you could hit on the fourth day.

"We won't get as much done as we have, so you have to make good use of your time," Padjen said. "We have teachers in-session on Thursday and then we are back in school next week, so we were always limited in our practice time."

The IHSA said the purpose of the policy is to address safety and the heat acclimatization period of early season practice, which is considered the first 14 calendar days of football practice for a member school, commencing with the first day a school begins football practice.

Homewood-Flossmoor goes back to school today, so coach Craig Buzea would be limited anyway.

"That is what we have to adjust to," Buzea said. "All of our practices are going to have to be very efficient. That is going to be the biggest adjustment."

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