The Times West Virginian

Bob Herzel

June 19, 2013

HERTZEL COLUMN- Bailey, Austin turning heads in St. Louis

(Continued)

MORGANTOWN — oooooo

On Sept. 7, WVU plays its biggest game of the season at Oklahoma and should bring a large crowd with them, so here’s a way to turn the trip into a big-time weekend.

This is a suggestion if you have some time on your hands and are making that trip. The next day, Sept. 8, Austin and Bailey make their NFL regular season debuts in St. Louis with a game against the Arizona Cardinals.

Stopping on the way home might make it a trip to remember.

oooooo

The other day former WVU football coach Don Nehlen, a Hall of Fame member, was talking about how football had changed from his day, which ended not all that long ago.

“When we had spring football, we wore pads every single day,” he said, referring to rules now that keep teams from working in full pads for much of the spring. “It’s just a different game. It’s not as physical.”

The reason, of course, is a new-found emphasis on safety, especially trying to limit the number of head injuries and concussions in the game.

Nehlen has his own thought on how to accomplish that.

“If all these guys who are changing the rules want is to make it safe, just get rid of the facemask,” he said.

On the surface, that would seem counterproductive considering that the mask, invented by another Hall of Fame coach, Paul Brown, is supposed to increase safety.

“When I played football, before the facemask, you tackled with your shoulder and you blocked with your shoulder because you didn’t want to go see your girlfriend with a broken nose,” Nehlen said.

“I never heard of head injuries when I played football ... and our helmets were nowhere near as good as these helmets. And we had guys who could play football. The masks today are nothing but weapons.”

Email Bob Hertzel at bhertzel@hotmail.com or follow him on Twitter @bhertzel.

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Bob Herzel
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