OSU's Gundy today: Big hits have changed college football
BY Staff Reports
Monday, November 16, 2009
11/16/09 at 5:12 PM
Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy says the hard hits in college football have dramatically changed the game in recent years.
"I cringe at the hits that take place in these games now," Gundy said in Monday's Big 12 teleconference. "There's three or four a game compared to years ago there would be only three or four in a season."
The biggest hit in the Cowboys' 24-17 win over Texas Tech on Saturday was to OSU quarterback Zac Robinson. With 1:38 left, Robinson was slammed in a helmet-to-helmet collision with Red Raiders cornerback Jamar Wall. Both players lay injured on the field for several minutes.
Gundy said Sunday night that Robinson has gone through several medical tests and appeared fine. He was to be evaluated again midmorning Monday but is expected to start in Thursday's 6:30 p.m. home game against Colorado.
"As a coach, the most difficult thing is when a player gets injured, and fortunately for Zac, it's not a serious injury," Gundy said. "But you always cringe when players collide and there could be somebody that could be injured seriously. It's one of the tougher parts of the game."
An emphasis on strength training has contributed to more serious injuries, Gundy said, because college football players are getting bigger and stronger every year.
"It's the real fine line where you have to have your players in great physical condition and they have to be strong in order to compete, but then you don't want to do too much," he said.
"Your corners, your defensive backs are now 200, 205, 210 (pounds). There's some safeties that are playing now that are 220, and it didn't used to be that way. Those guys used to be 175 pounds. It's just kind of the law of physics. I don't see it moving any other way in football."
Defenders also are tackling higher than they used to, Gundy said.
"These guys now are taking shots from the waist up," he said. "It happens all across the country. They put it on highlights and they see it — big hits of the week — and I think it encourages more players to try to tackle high."
Although Robinson has taken his share of hits, Gundy said his quarterback has gotten healthier as the season has progressed.
"Preseason he was slowed a little bit with a hamstring injury, and I think he's improved and run better as the season's gone on," he said.
OSU quarterback Zac Robinson is hammered by Texas Tech's Jamar Wall late in the fourth quarter Saturday. Both Robinson and Wall were injured on the play. STEPHEN HOLMAN/Tulsa World