University of Central Arkansas coach described the season-ending injury to quarterback Wynrick Smothers as "just football."

But it could be an indication of what we may see more of as defensive philosophy in college football takes a downward turn.

Conque said Smothers broke his right ankle on a clean hit. A Nebraska-Kearney defender came in low and caught Smothers’ ankle at the wrong place, the wrong time, a danger in tackle football.

Such injuries are not unusual in football. Looking at things in broader terms, there may be a trend.

Don’t do the math; do the physics.

A major emphasis has been placed throughout football on head-to-head contact to avoid or minimize the damage from concussions.

It’s a valid concern and the new rules have been implemented for safety’s sake.

Fundamentally, defenders are being coached to go in low to avoid any helmet-to-helmet contact, which can result in major head injury and ejection.

But the force and velocity will not change, just the direction.

Football is a violent, fast-paced game played by players who are bigger, stronger and faster than ever before.

There may be an increase in injuries to lower parts of the body.

"I think we already saw some of this in preseason in the NFL," said UCA coach Clint Conque. "The emphasis is on avoiding the upper body. It’s forcing you to lead with the shoulder and hit low."

So who prevails in football may come down to which key players can survive — or minimize their injuries to play another day.

(Sports columnist David McCollum can be reached at 501-505-1235 or Follow him on Twitter @dmaclcd)