For those hungry to learn and improve, it would be hard to go and observe another practice and not pick something of value up to bring back to your team.
That appears to be what happened to Dabo Swinney while taking a look at how the New Englands Patriots practice, and most notably, the defensive backs, according to ESPN.
Dabo noticed that Patriot defensive backs were wearing boxing gloves at certain points in practice and a light bulb went off in his head. So when he got back to Clemson, during their 1-on-1 period during training camp, Dabo had his defensive backs put the boxing gloves on…but not to duke it out. They served a very different purpose.
“That’s what we started doing in camp in our 1 on 1 periods to challenge them and stress them to win with their feet, play great technique, and not grab. We’ve been much improved,” Dabo told Andrea Adelson.
The logic makes a ton of sense, and the gloves are easy to slip on, and then off to give to the next guy in line so they’re relatively efficient as well. I have to think the same could be done with kick and punt returners to emphasize proper elbow placement and body position and to stress your returners not catching the ball with their hands – which I believe I have seen a program somewhere use before.
Don’t be surprised to see defensive coaches (and maybe special teams coaches handling returners) using some boxing gloves at practice moving forward.