CAMDEN, N.J. (CBS) –New Jersey high school football teams are gearing up for a new season, but they also have been adjusting to new tackling rules. Teams can now only tackle in practice for up to 15 minutes per week, as the state of New Jersey tries to make the game safer for students.
If anyone knows about tackling on a football field, its Camden High School’s Tarik Austin-Cave. The senior linebacker is going to the University of Miami on a full ride and says last year alone he had 162 tackles.
So he’s thankful he does not have to do it even more in practice.
“It reduces the concussion rate. The game of football is very rough. Very dangerous. A lot of guys go hard in practice so this rule will help us out a lot,” said the senior linebacker.
New Jersey’s Interscholastic Athletic Association’s new policy reduces team ability to practice live tackling to the ground, in season, from 90 minutes per week, down to 15 minutes per week.
Kevin Carty, NJISAA executive board member and Hillsboro High School head football coach says there are many ways to practice tackling without going to the ground, something Camden High School head coach Dwayne Savage demonstrated.
“We knew this was coming down the pipeline so we’ve been doing this for a couple years already,” Savage says.
As of now, it is up to the schools to notify the state if they go over the 15-minute limit, the state says violations will lead to sanctions, but there are possible issues with self-reporting, according to coach Savage.
“States are not coming around and regulating, so it’s on the honors system on the 15-minute rule and things like that so, if they want to keep their kids healthy, this is the way to go,” he said.
Coach Savage says the only thing his guys will have to get use to is the speed of each game.
Once they have that down, they won’t worry about tackling.