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By: CUBuffs.com
Brooks: Buffs Planning To Make Good Use Of iPads
Release: September 27, 2011
By: B.G. Brooks, Contributing Editor
BOULDER - This used to be a phrase that no football player wanted to hear: "Coach wants to see you . . . and bring your playbook."

Here's what that phrase will soon become: "Coach wants to see you . . . and bring your iPad."

Things - very fundamental things - are changing in college athletics, and maybe by next summer when football players report at the University of Colorado, many of those telephone book-sized playbooks will have been junked in favor of lightweight, svelte iPads.

The movement already has started, the technology already is in place.

In a pilot program that makes CU unique among U.S. universities, 80 Apple iPad2s were acquired for use in the athletic department. Of that total, 44 were ticketed for football, and a dozen each for men's and women's basketball and volleyball.  They are issued to student-athletes on a check-out, check-in process similar to the department's laptop program.

Depending on the success of the program, said Jamie Guy, CU's director of sports video, more of the iPads could become available for Buffs student-athletes. Guy recently began distributing the iPads to football coaches and players, offering tutorial help if needed.

"The thing about these kids, they're very up-to-date on technology and can really figure out uses that we've never considered," he said. "They'll make it a very positive experience."

And the potential is there for it to be beneficial on a number of levels in athletics and academics.

Guy, in his eighth year as director of sports video and his 11th on the CU staff, was the point-man in August 2010 for the Buffs' venture into the Hudl system. That innovative technology enhanced communication among players, coaches and between teammates, and allowed an almost instantaneous review of game footage for players and coaches returning from road trips in any sport. Video clips, complete with notes and "telestrations," could be passed back and forth between coaches and players, or between players and players.

But there was one key requirement to make Hudl work: An Internet connection.

Say hello to the iPad2 . . . say goodbye to the Internet requirement. And iPad2 users will benefit from the best of that world as well as Hudl; that "app" is available for downloading.

"The mobility and accessibility (offered by the iPad2) are unmatched," Guy said. "Players being able to study practice and game film on planes, hotels with or without the Internet . . . they've never have been able to do it in any sport. There also will be the ability to do digital versions of playbooks, saving cost of printing scouting reports each week and all things that go with that."

Senior safety Anthony Perkins was offered a sneak preview of the iPad2's benefits after the Buffs' season-opener in Hawai'i. Last winter, after hearing rumors that iPads might be in the works for the football program, "Perk" approached Guy and was shown the new Hudl "app" for the iPad.

Perkins' reaction: "I need that . . . I decided I couldn't wait. I had to get one (iPad) right now."

He did, becoming one of two forerunners - senior quarterback Tyler Hansen is the other - for the iPad2s introduction to the football team. Because both already had purchased their own instruments, the pair slotted for them went to teammates.

After spending the next several months familiarizing himself with the iPad, Perkins "bugged (Guy) on the way back from Hawai'i and made him put the game on my Ipad . . . I was able to watch it on the plane ride home. It was a good deal" - although the Buffs lost 34-17.

Perkins called the technology's potential "awesome . . .  I'd been advocating to everybody that it's something that would really be beneficial for us, and I was hoping it would happen soon. It's exciting that it really did happen.

"The big benefit is convenience. You can watch film almost anywhere on campus, anywhere in the building. It's all personalized, too. You can watch whatever you want, whenever you want to watch it. It's a lot more functional on the iPad than it is on a computer."

In addition to myriad uses in athletics, Guy noted the iPad2 can be used for academic work and communication with professors. It is lighter than many text books, has a calendar function for scheduling purposes and features a battery life of eight or nine hours.

"It's a phenomenal product," Guy said, noting the NFL's Tampa Bay Buccaneers have made the move to the iPad2/Hudl and that he expects to benefit because CU offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy is friends with Bucs coach Raheem Morris.

"He and 'EB' are really close and (Bieniemy) will get me in contact with him," Guy said. "We'll do some of the things they're doing with playbooks and film study as well.    

"Since this is the first time any school has done anything with it - to my knowledge - there's a lot of new things to discover and figure out.  There are so many different ways that it can be advantageous, not just in football but in the academic world as well."

Guy believes that "eventually these will replace the paper playbooks . . . you're not going to have a six-inch thick playbook anymore, but a one-inch thick iPad that can hold millions of those books."

He is still wading through all the possibilities presented by the iPad2s, but he's convinced if a device that eventually contains a playbook is lost, misplaced or stolen, he'll be able to remotely wipe out any information that might compromise any of CU's strategy.

"I'm still figuring out how to do that," he said, "but we'll get to that point."

Most coaches will need (and require) that reassurance.

Contact: BG.Brooks@Colorado.EDU

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