B1G Media Days: Claeys supports removing kickoffs

CHICAGO — Speaking Monday afternoon at Big Ten Media Days in Chicago, Minnesota head football coach Tracy Claeys says he’s in favor of removing or tweaking kickoffs in an effort to make the game safer.

“We haven’t talked about it as Big Ten coaches, but my own personal belief is if that play is obviously causing that many injuries and it’s that obvious from the data, then we need to replace it,” Claeys said Monday afternoon during a question and answer session.

Last week it was reported that conversations were already underway between the NCAA and the American Football Coaches Association to remove that aspect of college football.

The discussions come just months after the NFL had similar talks, leading to a proposal that touchbacks would bring the ball out to the 25-yard-line for the offensive team.

Claeys provided an alternative to removing the kickoff altogether, suggesting “rather than have the double teams and things like that, I would like to see [the Big Ten] first try to do it where it’s all man blocking.”

“If the injuries continue to happen on that one play, I do think it’s in the best interest of the game to find another option,” Claeys concluded.

Minnesota concludes its regular season schedule with Wisconsin on Nov. 26 at Camp Randall in Madison, Wis.