BOULDER - It was only a matter of time before technology made scouting reports, practice reviews, coaches' comments and players' feedback a 24/7 proposition.
That time arrived at Colorado in August.
Shortly before preseason football camp ended late last month, Buffaloes coaches and players were introduced to HudlPro, an innovative software program that allows scrutiny of and interaction about all things football, all the time (as if coaches' families needed that).
Requirements for usage are minimal: a laptop or home computer, an Internet connection and what Jamie Guy, CU's director of sports video, calls basic computer skills.
Guy's bullet-point highlights of HudlPro, which also is being utilized by the CU soccer team:
- It's almost as good as texting: Players can send each other (and coaches) video clips, complete with notes and "telestrations," asking questions or making comments about whatever they're viewing. Correspondence can be player-to-player, player-to-coach, coaches within their positions, or team-wide.
- No more hurry up and wait: Game footage can be viewed within an hour after a game ends. Said Guy: "Obviously, it's not a requirement for players to watch it (within an hour of playing), but for them to have that ability is very powerful."
- Need a calendar or an opponent's RSS news feeds? HudlPro offers an information hub for both;
- Got you covered: The program also serves as a backup to CU's XOS Thunder editing system. If that program should go off-line, coaches' instant access to HudlPro would prevent any lag in video preparation.
Guy believes HudlPro will "revolutionize the way players and coaches can communicate and watch game film . . . we live in an 'I-want-content-now' world and this is the bridge that closes that gap."
During preseason camp, CU's coaching staff received a tutorial from Guy and his staff. Then, players were introduced to the program. Most were quick studies, but Guy said extra "reps" brought everyone up to speed.
"Like everything else, it's been a learning process . . . it's brand new to some of us," senior linebacker B.J. Beatty said. "For some of the guys who aren't good with computers, it'll take a while. But for the most part, I got on and within 10 or 15 minutes I was flying through everything, picking everything up and just asking (Guy) little questions.
"And what's going to help, too, is that you can communicate with the coaches. It's almost like instant messaging. If you have a question it's like, 'Hey, coach,' and you send a clip to him."
Special teams/tight ends coach Ken Riddle called the added scouting and coach-player communication aspects "invaluable." Beatty added, "For some of us seniors who might have a couple of days off (from classes), we can go home and watch film, not be around here all day. But we still can communicate with our coaches. I think it's a great deal."
Scouting an opponent never has been so comprehensive or accessible. Senior receiver Scotty McKnight said the program "brings a whole new dimension to studying your opponent - something that's been a long time coming."
McKnight also recalled off-hours during the off-season when he had free time and wanted to visit the football offices to watch tape of future opponents.
"This just gives you the opportunity to watch it whenever and wherever you are - back home in California, in the off-season wherever you might be," he said. "If you have an Internet connection, you can get on-line and watch cut-ups from the coaches or from games . . . it gives you full access to watching film whatever, whenever. It's huge.
"Whoever came up with that idea, whoever started that company . . . Hey, I might be buying stock."
Might not be a bad idea, if possible. The HudlPro system is an advancement of Hudl, which, according to its website, grew from 400 teams/schools using the program in 2009 to over 2,000 in 2010. Six NFL and college teams (Cleveland Browns, New York Jets of the NFL; Albany, Minnesota, Nebraska and Tulsa) used HudlPro in 2009. Nine more NFL teams and colleges - Denver Broncos; CU, Indiana, Michigan, Oregon, Penn State, Stanford, Southern California) were added in 2010.
The original Hudl software was conceived and developed by three University of Nebraska students, who formed Agile Sports Technologies in Omaha. They approached then-Cornhuskers coach Bill Callahan with the possibilities and he quickly jumped on board.
That was in 2007. The new technology couldn't help the Huskers finish any better than 5-7 that season and Callahan was fired. The New York Jets hired him in 2008 as assistant head coach/offensive line.
Among his selling points in New York was the new video system he'd used in Lincoln. The Jets became the first NFL team to use it, and Callahan remains employed.