Now that work on the NEZ is almost complete, I'm . . .

. . . still concerned about how close the NEZ stands are to the back corner of the end zone - particularly in the NW and NE corners. By my eye, it appears to be no more than about 4 yards from the very back corner of the EZ to the corner of the new stands. That’s not a heck of a lot of room for a WR and DB on a fade pattern to those locations.

I fear there will be a serious injury there some day. Hope I’m wrong, but I’m really concerned about it. I’m sure they will pad it, but that’s not going to help much if someone runs into it.

Not trying to be Debbie Downer, but I’ve always thought it might be too snug. Of course, until they just recently reinstalled the turf in that EZ following construction, it was virtually impossible to know exactly how much room there was going to be.

I’ve been in stadiums all across the SEC. Much the same. Auburn and South Carolina have the stands closer than that. It’s not unlike the north end zone at Arkansas. You hardly have room to walk. Same at Florida. Same at Alabama. What they’ve done in the NEZ is similar to what is done across the SEC. In fact, the SEC approves the building plans before they can be built.

I am with you on this. I understand it might be within acceptable guidelines…but IMO it just doesn’t look safe and I would hate for any player to ever have a serious injury from colliding with it.

For me it is not so much the close proximity but more about how it comes to a point in the corners. I would have thought that they could have rounded or tapered it off somehow.

It looks pretty snug from the pics, you’re right. I’m wondering if it’s actually more room than you think. Sometimes pics can be deceiving. Have you actually walked down there?

I agree. Based on the pictures, it is a little less than 5 yards from end zone line to the corner of the structure. Maybe that is the norm, but if you look in the south end zone it does not have a point in the seating structure like the north end zone. The south is square.

Even though it may have been approved by the SEC, the point is what looks dangerous to me. If it was straight across like the south end zone, I don’t think it would be an issue.

That’s a bit deceiving. See that dotted line between the field and the seating? The dotted line is 12 feet from the boundary of the field by rule. And the point of the stands is several feet behind that. That red border around the field is 6 feet wide, the dotted line is 6 feet behind that. It’s probably not much more than 15 feet from field to corner, but it’s still deceiving.

Thinking about plays that wind up in the corner of the end zone, you’re usually talking lob passes where the objective is not to outrun the opponent, but outjump him. Or back shoulder fades, which are thrown more toward the sideline than the end line. Neither one is likely to run people into that corner. If somebody runs into the end zone and just doesn’t want to stop, Bo Jackson up the tunnel style, he can just change course slightly and run beside the point instead of into it. There’s enough room for that.


But look at the distance between the 5 and 10 yard lines, or the 5 yard line and the goal line; then, compare those to the distance between that back corner of the EZ and the corner of the stands. The angle is virtually the same (maybe one more degree) in the view of those 3 distances (5-10, Goal to 5, Back of NEZ to stand), so it can’t be affecting the perception of that distance in any distinguishable manner. I believe the dotted line is 12 feet FROM THE PLAYING FIELD, and the stands are less than a yard from the dotted line.

FWIW, I agree that it won’t come into play very often. But it only takes once with a concrete corner like that. If they could cut across those corner boxes with the outer wall (in the NEZ) - or, even round them off and recess them a foot or two - they could eliminate the problem. Of course, the high rollers paying for those boxes wouldn’t like that very much. I just hope we never have a tragic event that forces the change.

Correct, it is 12 feet from the playing field. It’s probably 3 feet from the dotted line to the corner. I’m pretty sure the red part of that wall is padding.

By the way, check out the dotted line at WMS, particularly on the right (north) side. Right up against the stands. The entire stands at WMS are closer than that corner and I don’t ever recall somebody crashing into them. That corner near the WMS goal line is also closer than 15 feet.

“Padding” on a concrete wall = concrete. Main point is, the wall doesn’t give when a human runs into it; the human does.

I guess it’s the corner being there that really caught my eye, though it wouldn’t be any picnic running into the flat part either. Oh well - hope my concerns are for naught.

This is true. But also worth noting that that corner at WMS doesn’t have padding. Nor does the front of the north stands. Which is steel instead of concrete, but that doesn’t give either.

I doubt that corner will come into play, but anything is possible. If a player is going full speed at that point, he has really lost his position on the field or has been pushed by an opposing player. Most fades are thrown toward the pylon, which would actually send a receiver (who should be lined up at least five yards from the sideline) more toward the ramp. I hope the corner of the stands is never a problem and really don’t think it will be, but certainly understand the concern.

According to CM’s media coaching clinic (video linked below), he frequently likes his receivers lined up on the inside of the yardline numbers. Top of those numbers is 9 yards from the sideline, by rule. Sometimes they’ll line up bottom of the numbers (7 yards from the sideline) or one yard outside the numbers (6 yards off). So if they use those numbers as a guideline, which is the idea, their placing will be consistent, and will send their fade routes even more toward the ramp.


That’s why I said at least, because even though Hog receivers should do that, an opposing receiver might not. Five or ten yards off the boundary should make the angle of the route head more toward the opening, though a bad throw or the wrong angle could potentially be an issue.

I admit, I’d like another yard or two, but 5 yards beyond the corner is a pretty safe distance. Players won’t be running full speed 15 yds past the goal line. They’re going to slow before they get to the end line. They still have 5 yards beyond that at the nearest point–the very corner of the stands. Unless a player is already out of bounds, the only way he gets to that corner is to be running at it at an oblique angle. That won’t happen from the very corner of the EZ. If it’s 2 yds inside the west boundary of the EZ, he’s got about 7 yds before he hits the wall. He won’t hit the apex of the corner even if he does that.

It just seems to me it’s going to be such a rare event to hit the apex of the corner–maybe never at all–that with the padding, it’s just not much of a risk. I know the concrete doesn’t give, but good padding will give. And the players have good padding, too. I suspect their collisions with the turf that happen every play are more dangerous. After all, there’s not much give in those artificial surfaces, either.

I don’t want to introduce unnecessary hazards into anything, even an extraordinarily hazardous sport like football, but I believe the combination of distance, the location of that corner vis-a-vis the playing field, & the padding makes this a very low risk. At least no higher than the risk of hitting the wall near the middle of the EZ that’s maybe 3 yards further back still.

(Personally, I always thought they should have extended the backstop fencing behind home plate much further down the baseline than they did up until a few years ago. A line drive foul hitting the stands just beyond 1st or 3rd base always seemed to pose a risk that could’ve been eliminated by extending the protective fencing.)