By Nick Kuzma, Liverpool, N.Y. (NCC News) — Liverpool High School quarterback Brendan Mancuso lines up under center, drops back to pass the ball, delivers it to to his receiver in the middle of the field. But no one tackles the receiver.
Gone are the days of full-contact practices which, for years, resulted in many injuries.
“I’ve never been a big contact person in during practice, and there’s times to do that, but we’ve never even been close to the amount of allotted time [that the state allows them to do live drills in practice],” said Liverpool Head Coach David Mancuso.
The Liverpool players are legally allowed to hit more than they do, but the coaches pass up the opportunity so as to keep their student athletes healthy.
“The coaches really emphasize playing safe,” said Liverpool offensive lineman Jake Ronan. “When we’re in an offensive session they don’t let us tackle fully.”
This technique is called playing to a “thud.” The goal is to get the simulation of contact without anyone ending up on the ground, which could lead to injury.
“I’ve played football since I was eight years old, in many ways it molded my life to where I am today,” said the coach.
He said he also uses his coaching platform to have a positive effect on his high school student athletes’ lives.
“A lot of [coaching] is about changing kids’ lives,” Mancuso said. “My objective is to take kids further than they can take themselves.”