"What defensive coaches around the country are teaching is fly to the ball and be physical when you tackle,'' Gibson said. "It's going to happen at some point to somebody that they're going to lose a great player just because they're big hitters. What we have to do as coaches is be smart and teach guys how to tackle through the thigh [pads] and through the chest and those kinds of things.
"But there's going to be collisions in football, especially in the Big 12 with as much throwing as there is.''
That's what is sometimes lost in a conversation about styles of football. For so long, playing pass offense and pass defense were seen as somehow anti-physical compared to head-bashing run games and fearsome front sevens. But where the new targeting rules are concerned, passing offenses and the defenses that try to stop them are, well, the targets.
It's the big hits in the secondary - not in the trenches - that are the issue.
As a precaution and a teaching tool, Holgorsen last month put together a highlight tape of sorts of Joseph's biggest hits in the secondary. He sent it to the Big 12 and had it critiqued by the league's head of officials, Walt Anderson. Then he passed along the results to Joseph.
"He actually talked to me about it and told me that most of my hits were clean last year because none of the ball-carriers were defenseless,'' Joseph said. "He said some of them might have been close, but not really.''
It only takes one, though, and who knows when that one could happen in a split second. Joseph admits that it's just a matter of being smart.
"The only difference is when the receiver is defenseless. That's the only real change I see,'' Joseph said. "Everything else is still the same. They're still allowing us to play football and be aggressive. But when the receiver is defenseless and in the air, you just have to lower your target zone.''
In other words, he doesn't worry about it, which is half the battle.
"The one thing I did tell me guys is I don't want them playing cautious because then you play scared,'' Gibson said. "Then you have missed opportunities and missed tackles.''
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickm...@aol.com or follow him at Twitter.com/dphickman1.