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NFL hopes ban on Oklahoma drill trickles down to all levels of football

High School Football

1988: General view of a High School Football team practicing. Mandatory Credit: Tim de Frisco /Allsport

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The NFL’s decision to tell coaches to stop using the Oklahoma drill in practice isn’t just about preventing NFL players from getting hurt. It’s also about the safety of the game at all levels.

Competition Committee Chairman Rich McKay said the Oklahoma drill -- a longtime staple of summer football practice at all levels of the sport -- tends to feature the kinds of repeated head-to-head collisions that the league wants to encourage coaches at every level to limit.

“I think for me, what I liked the most about trying to eliminate some of these drills is hopefully the message it sends downstream to youth football, to high school football, to college football,” McKay said. “It will be their choice to see what they do with some of these drills. But, I would tell you some of these drills exist in high school football in a big way and I am not sure these drills are necessary.”

The Oklahoma drill was once beloved by players and coaches alike, but it’s increasingly viewed as a drill whose risks outweigh the rewards -- and a drill that will not be part of football at any level for much longer.