UMass coach Mark Whipple ponders Ivy League's new tackle rule

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Mark Whipple played and coached football at Brown University, but the UMass coach wasn’t sure one way or the other about the Ivy League’s new tackling rule.

The league announced earlier this month that it won’t be allowing tackling during in-season practices. He thought once preseason ended most teams, including the Ivies shied away from extensive tackling.

“I don’t think those guys tackle that much,” Whipple said. “But I haven’t seen an Ivy League practice since I came to UMass. I don’t think people do that much. At times you have to. They don’t have pads on as much as we do. We probably won’t tackle as much here. We’ll do some situational stuff. I think every coach is concerned about safety factors.”

Still he didn’t think the intensity of Ivy League practices were likely to cause significant damage.

“I’m old and I played with a lot of guys in the Ivy League and I don’t think we’ve got CTE,” said Whipple, whose team wears added protection on their helmets in practice to lessen the risk of concussions. “I think until you get to the NFL, that’s when it becomes an issue.”

Whipple said practice tackling varied even in the NFL.

“When I was at Pittsburgh we didn’t tackle much then I went to the Eagles and we tackled a lot,” he said. “Andy (Reid) liked to tackle. It depends on how many guys you got.”

Matt Vautour can be reached at mvautour@gazettenet.com. Get UMass coverage delivered in your Facebook news feed at www.facebook.com/GazetteUMassCoverage