Alabama Football: Fall camp could be different with NCAA rules changes

(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

Few Alabama Football position group battles were settled during spring practice. Players will continue to compete in the summer offseason programs and fall camp. The competition for starting and key backup roles will continue until the second scrimmage of fall camp.

Pending rule changes for college football fall camps are set for a vote on May 19. The approved changes are expected to be implemented for the 2021 preseason. Basically, the proposed changes revolve around reducing the number of full-contact sessions for the purpose of minimizing concussions.

The Alabama Football program has taken its own safety steps under Nick Saban. Long before many other teams embraced a change, the Crimson Tide went to ‘thud’ tackling where a defender still makes a hit but does not take a ball carrier to the ground.

Implementation of the proposed rules does not mean Alabama Football will shift from its reputation of toughness or play football less aggressively. Along with the expected benefit of better player safety, there will be more pressure on players to perform in fewer full-contact sessions. Currently, the NCAA allows three and a half, fall camp scrimmages. If passed in May, that number will be reduced to two.

Chair of the Football Oversight Committee, West Virginia Athletic Director, Shane Lyons explained the format of the proposed fall camp model.

"the working model (is) 9-8-8: a minimum of nine padless practices, eight practices in shells (helmets and shoulder pads) and a maximum of eight practices in full pads with full contact. In shells, players cannot be tackled to the ground, under current rules."

At first look, Alabama football fans may think the proposed rules are overly cautious. There may be a concern the reduced number of full-contact sessions will mean teams are less prepared for season opener games. There will be a tradeoff, and it may carry a downside. But no Alabama Football coach wants any player to get a concussion. A study, published in February showed

"72% of concussions occurred during practice and nearly 50% happened in preseason practice, despite it representing just one-fifth of the football season. Total head impacts in the preseason occurred at twice the rate of the regular season."

Alabama Football will adjust. While the NCAA will not be able to monitor the closed practices of 130 teams, compliance should not be a major issue. Assuming the adoption of the new rules, schools are unlikely to ignore or avoid them. The liability risk will be too great and future claims against the schools could be worse than any NCAA penalty.

Next. Position Group Spring Grades. dark

Alabama Football will comply and adjust. It will do so as well as any program, and better than most, because of Nick Saban.