The Campus Recreation Department made to the competitive football program’s offensive line this semester. The changes seek to increase player safety and to accommodate the limited number of students that try out.

Due to the changes, there will only be a center and two guards on the offensive line. Teams will be able to utilize tight ends if wanted, but the tackles have been removed from the lineup.

Coaches assist with drills. Photo credit: Dallin Jenkins.
Coaches assist with drills. Photo credit: Dallin Jenkins.

At first, many questioned the purpose behind the changes. But as they have been implemented, many people agree that they make sense.

One of the main reasons for the changes was the safety of the players. This has been and always will be a concern for the Campus Recreation Department. 

“It is among the highest injury rates from seasons past,” said Nate Gardner, student lead over campus sports this semester. “It is also due to the limited amount of linemen that try out.”

This has allowed more teams to be formed, and the season to be more competitive. Being more competitive, however, does not mean being more aggressive. The players’ safety is also a top priority of the coaches. 

“I think the biggest thing is just safety,” said Avefualetalalelei “Tala” Talauega, an assistant coach for the Wolverines football team. “That’s a big emphasis I know that the league and everyone involved with sports on campus has.”

Wolverines take a water break. Photo credit: Dallin Jenkins.
Wolverines take a water break. Photo credit: Dallin Jenkins.

Tala has plans to do his best to keep the players as safe as possible in tackling as well. 

“I want to transition to more of the rugby style tackling that’s a lifesaver,” Tala said. “You work on keeping your head away from the most contact, using leverage with your shoulders and lower body, and just staying away from head injuries.” 

Teams have already started practicing in hopes of making it to the championship game, which will be played on Thursday, June 29, at the Stadium Field on campus. 

Season games will start on Friday, May 12.