That's going help them understand it, and that will pair nicely with the appreciation defenders have for how the rule is supposed to protect players. It doesn't even come close to making this something with which defenders agree.
"I think it's just another rule in favor of the offense," Joseph said. "Sometimes you get in the heat of a game, especially when you're playing safety, and you're running full speed at someone, but now you have to think about where you have to hit the receiver. It's going to be hard, but you've got to adjust to it."
Defenders do not want to adjust. They want to tackle and intimidate, and not necessarily in that order. The rule threatens the velocity and the physicality good defenders take pride in, which in turn threatens to humble them.
"It makes the defensive guys look like wussies," Baylor safety Ahmad Dixon said.
Defender must now lower the area they target and move their heads so they're outside the spot where the contact occurs. They'll go at legs more, because it's far from the head, but that's going to injure offensive players like thunderous knees will concuss defenders. Put together, it means changing the way players have been taught to tackle. That disarms players who abandon a strategy or employ a new one or if they slow down to make sure they strike under control.
"It's frustrating to guys like me who are hard hitters and vicious players," Dixon said. "We have to slow down. We can't run to the ball as fast as we can. We can't hit guys like we want to hit them. We can't really bring the boom like we want to."
It's going to be a mess, whether in the form of slipshod tackling that turns into bogus touchdowns or the controversy that comes from ejections, but it's coming and probably fast. It's a point of emphasis this season and coaches and players expect to see the penalties and ejections early because officials are being asked to enforce the rule and to force changes so many dislike.
"This is what we do," Dixon said. "This is like me telling you, 'Hey, don't write down everything I say.' That's what you do. We hit guys. We make guys feel pain. That's what we do. When you take that away from us, it's like me telling you, 'Hey, give me your notebook,' and never letting you use it again because you wrote the wrong thing down."
Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at mi...@dailymail.com or 304-319-1142. His blog is at blogs.dailymail.com/wvu.