Call it a dummy at your own risk: Dartmouth's new toy is the one of the smartest new toys in college football.
As reported by the AP and featured on USA Today, the college's football team is practicing its form tackling with a new device called the MVP: Mobile Virtual Player.
Designed by students at the university, the tackling dummy does more than just move across the field, forcing players to chase down a moving target. It also improves practice safety by reducing player-on-player contact.
Tackling drills can be notoriously dangerous in football practices, bringing players head-to-head on collision courses directly toward one another. The repetitive impacts can wreck havoc on players' heads and necks.
Dartmouth's MVP has room for improvement -- coaches can't currently control its movements, which limits how realistic the dummy can imitate player movements -- but it remains a much better alternative to stationary dummies, and since it's padded, it's placing less wear and tear on players.
Leave it to the school that doesn't even have an official sports mascot to be the one breaking new ground on the college football landscape. Already, the MVP looks like a must-add tool for practices across the country. If its engineers can make it a smarter, more lifelike tackling target, all the better.