Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

INSTANT ANALYSIS ... DURING THE GAME | Advances in Technology Allow Coaches to Instantly Break Down the Game

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

INSTANT ANALYSIS ... DURING THE GAME | Advances in Technology Allow Coaches to Instantly Break Down the Game

Article excerpt

HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL: TECHNOLOGY

SARASOTA -- He was a conference champion at Florida and spent six seasons in the NFL.

But every Friday night, Riverview High coach Todd Johnson gets a glimpse of the technology he never dreamt was possible during his playing days.

Roughly 10 seconds after a play is complete, Johnson can watch it all unfold again on his iPad, a tablet computer which is about two- thirds the size of a clipboard.

He can point out what went wrong and what went right. Then he can call over a player or two and show them exactly what just happened, and how to prevent it -- or allow it -- to happen again.

This wasn't how corrections were made during Johnson's playing days, which included a six-year stay in the NFL. Instead, coaches would bring over a three-ring binder filled with photographs of each play, beginning with the snap, shown from all different angles.

"We'd make corrections off that," he said.

Those days are gone, however, thanks to the National Federation of High School Sports, which now allows the use of iPads on the sidelines.

"People are slowly starting to implement it," said Johnson, whose Rams host Palm Harbor University tonight in a Class 8A-District 6 game. "Now it's gone full bore."

Riverview uses as many as five cameras per game, Johnson said, filmed by a crew that also includes players not in uniform that week. They are positioned in the end zone and on the sidelines.

The footage from the camera is transferred directly to the iPad. Johnson said the coaching staff typically uses two per game - one for defense, another for offense.

"It's awesome," Johnson said. "Before on the sideline, you always had a good idea what happened, but there was always that question mark until you went back and watched film that night after the game. But now, you can see right then and there, 10 seconds after the play happening."

The Rams still use the good ole' fashioned dry-erase boards. The iPads are just a high-tech extension of what the coaches draw up with markers. …

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