Texas Football 2014 and Technology making the World Small

Many years ago… before I ever saw Texas HS football firsthand. I coached on a staff in Reno with a Texas transplant. I really liked the guy, but my main memory of him was a perpetual look at amazement and disgust at what passed for high school football in the boonies. Pretty much anywhere outside of Texas, from his perspective.

“Y’all don’t have a filming tower/a real pressbox/ one-way coaches or players…?” He would always ask in frustration. He lasted a year, before moving back to Houston.
I felt the same way after my year in Texas. You get accustomed to what you’re around quickly and it took a while to readjust to Nevada ball after seeing the sport in Texas.
Tonight I got to watch one of my old teams, Cedar Hill, on ESPN. (They beat De Soto, 65-42!!) It was great to see familiar faces on national TV, but even more, it reminded me of how special Texas High School Football is. It is just a completely different thing than what I coach in Reno. The bands playing during the action, the big crowds, returners bringing the ball out of the endzone…more than anything, the amazing quality of play. When Big and Bright comes out next August. You can read all about it!!!
I love the kids I coach now. Reno is a great place to live. Between the mountains, the climate and my family, I can’t see ever moving. But for high school football, there is no place better than Texas and I miss it.

My German team started practice this week. Although I’m 1000’s of miles away, don’t speak the language and am coaching another team, thanks to Facebook, Europlayers and Hudl, I’m already hard at work.

We are looking for a quarterback, and the main way this is done is through Europlayers, almost like a dating website, connecting interested players with teams worldwide. Players profiles all have video clips imbedded, so a coach can search for particular position players, watch film and contact them all through this one website. Monday, I spent several hours evaluating QB film and talking on a Private Razorback Coaches group on Facebook about who is worth pursuing.

Hudl is the film sharing software coaches everywhere now use. Among other things the program allows coaches to instantly send practice and game film to anyone else on the system. Most nights, after practice I immediately upload the practice film and sent telestrated “notes” to each of my players. (Video clips with arrows, lines, circles and text notes pointing out specific mistakes and successes from every rep during practice.)

This week, on Facebook, I communicated with a coach on the German staff about a drill I wanted him to implement. Tuesday, I filmed this drill with my HS team in Reno and used Hudl to send it to him. Wednesday, he added his notes of coaching points to the clips and sent them to the German players. Later that evening he ran the drill and sent the video clips to me in Reno. This morning I added MY notes to the drill about things I was done well or poorly, notes that will be seen by my German players who I won’t meet in person until March.

For a coach who still remembers actual film projectors and mimeograph machines, the added efficiency technology brings to football seems like magic and, I think, is a big reason programs in places like Europe have grown so quickly. It’s a different world, maybe worse in some ways, but things like this are pretty cool.

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