At all levels of football, concussions and head injuries have become a major topic of conversation in recent years.
Rutgers defender Eric LeGrand became paralyzed after making a tackle on kickoff coverage in a 2010 game against Army.
More than 4,200 former NFL players have sued the league over head injuries. Last month, a federal judge ordered attorneys from both sides of the litigation to go through mediation toward a possible settlement.
“We need to have prevention reflected in the rules,” Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowslby said at the conference's media days last month. “This is certainly not an attempt to, as some hosts said, sissify college football.
“We need to make sure that it's a game you can play safely and not compromise the rest of your life in the process of excellence.”
Stoops said the key will be coaching players to tackle properly while maintaining the physical, tough nature of playing defense.
“We want to be physical and violent and all that, but to me, when some guy is running down the middle of the field with his head looking at the ball and you hit them, that's like me taking a sucker punch on some guy in the bar that isn't even looking,” Stoops said.
For Clay's part, he said he understands the rules are only there to protect the players.
“That's for our best interest,” Clay said. “But it is what it is. It's football. You can't take that away from it. But if they wanna tack on 15 yards, that's gonna be our advantage, so I'll take it.”