We huddled with Coach Vass to bring you the best workflow for getting the most out of your new Hudl Beta when studying your next opponent.

With custom columns turned on for the Hudl Beta, the possibilities of tendency data combinations you can use to scout your opponent are literally endless.

And we mean literally. Because we know no two coaches analyze the same way. That’s why when you add custom columns to your grid, they automatically populate in your Hudl Beta under the "Other" section.

Moving them to another section, such as Offensive Tendencies, is easy. Just open the card, and click where you want it to go.

But as we all know, paralysis by analysis is very real. And with so much data so suddenly ready to run through this new beta, where do you start? 

Here’s a guide to everything you need to take care of to scout like a high-performing football coach:

Before the Breakdown: Just Watch

As soon you’re done wrapping up your previous game, watch the last three games of your next opponent, starting with most recent.

Try not to stop the tape much on your first time through. Why? You want to get an overall feel for your opponent, and don’t want to get too bogged down with details. That will set your foundation for what you want to do.

But do take notes on: 

  • Offensive personnel (the players, not the groupings)
  • Tip, tells and reminders for our players
  • Ideas you have as you watch.

The Overview: Top 5’s

At Monday’s practice, you want the “10,000 foot view” on your opponent. What your opponent’s top five formations, runs and passes are will tell you a lot about their rhythm and style. 

Chart the following:

  • Top 5 Formations [sorted by formation & motion → top 5 plays regardless of play type]
    • Note: will often go beyond 5 formations and sort by formation, play type, offensive play for the purposes of creating a hit chart
  • Top 5 Runs [sorted by runs → formation & motion]
  • Top 5 Passes [sorted by passes → formation & motion]

When noting the top five formations, be sure to track the run/pass ratio.


This is one of the most frequently utilized advanced columns by our high school and small college coaches. And for good reason — this is where the real game-breaking discoveries begin.

To start, for each top personnel group, chart the top runs and top passes, noting the most popular formation and motion used with it as well.

Next, take note of the run/pass tendency for each personnel group in down-and-distance, field zone and hash mark situations. 

All Plays

Tony Romo is right. Good teams will sometimes deploy looks with the intent of messing with tendency data future opponents will run on them. As a general rule, if you only see something run once, it’s not a tendency.

That said, the beauty of this new beta is you’ll be able uncover every stone with hundreds of combinations of tendency data. Use it to your full effect by diving into the tendencies within certain families of plays, as follows: 

  • All Runs by Frequency [sorted by runs → personnel → formation & motion]
  • All Passes by Frequency [sorted by passes → personnel → formation & motion]
  • All RPOs
  • All Screens
  • All Draws
  • All Trick Plays

Explosive Plays and Chaos

Hudl defines an explosive play as going for at least 12 yards. Your bar may be higher — that’s why these playlists, and understanding how those plays went for big gains, are so important.

  • All explosive runs (+15 yards)
  • All explosive passes (+20 yards)
  • All offensive touchdowns
  • All negative runs [sorted by runs → gain/loss less than or equal to -1]
  • All negative passes [sorted by passes → gain/loss less than or equal to -1]
  • All offensive penalties more than 10 yards
  • All sacks [click "sacks" in results section]
  • All interceptions [click "interceptions" in results section]
  • All fumbles [click "fumbles" in Results section]
  • All defensive Touchdowns [click "defensive touchdowns" in Results section]

When studying negative offensive plays, it’s important to evaluate whether or not the defense forced these, or if it was simply poor execution by the offense.

We also recommend combining all negative runs, pass, offensive penalties of at least 10 yards, sacks, interceptions, fumbles and defensive touchdowns into one cutup.

Down and Distance Study

There’s so many situations that can muddy the true read on your opponent’s down-and-distance playcalling tendencies, most notably red zone, goal line, two-minute, four-minute and when the backups are in the game.

The easiest way to filter this out is to click all field zones and series, and then subtracting as needed. For instance, you’ll want to immediately cross off the +20 and +10 field zones.

Then let’s say your opponent went into a two-minute drill on the sixth and final series of the first half, then played only three offensive series in the second half before giving way to the reserves. You’ll want to cross out the sixth series, and then any series after the ninth.

Once you have that established, make playlists of each of these down-and-distance scenarios:

  • 1st & 10/2nd & 1-6
  • 2nd & 7-9
  • 2nd & 10+
  • 3rd & 3-5
  • 3rd & 6-10
  • 3rd & 11+
  • Short Yardage (3rd/4th & 1-2)
  • 4th & 3-5
  • 4th & 6-10
  • 4th & 11+

Now, let’s say you’ve got intel that your opponent’s playcalling changes between third-and-four and third-and-five. The simple answer? Go for it. The general idea — getting a read on short, medium, long and extra long downs — is what’s important.

Field Positions of Importance

Red zone tendencies are obviously paramount to any scouting report. You can do this easily by using the +20 and +10 filters. For strictly goal line tendencies, we recommend using just the +10 filter.

You’ll also want to see what the opponent is doing when backed up against their own end zone. Do they take shots downfield? Or do they play more conservatively and just try to get positive yards? Use the -10 and -20 filters to see this.

We playfully call the middle of the field the “Alumni Zone”, because those important alumni tend to sit near the 50 yard line. But this is also an area where playcalling tendencies tend to change. Group the -30 through +30 filters together into a playlist.

Quick Tendency Checks

They might not notice it, but subconsciously some teams tend to favor running plays to their own bench as opposed to yours. Take a quick look at what your opponents’ run/pass tendencies are at the left, middle and right hashes, and the play direction.

Then within each hash, create a playlist of the top runs and top passes from each hash. This will give you an idea of how much they like to run plays into the field as opposed to the boundary.

Other Aspects to Study

Here’s a few ideas of other things to track that can make a difference in your gameplan:

  • Openers/sudden change — What does your opponent like to do on the first play of a drive? The first play after a turnover? Create a playlist of the first play on each series and have a look yourself.
  • Pass protection — What type of protection are they using against certain looks? You might also do good to note which way the center turns after the snap.
  • Freeze calls — For teams that run no-huddle, note when they stop and check with the sideline. Are there certain looks that force this?
  • Cadence — Is there a reason why your opponent is snapping the ball on two? Three?
  • Pass concept — What are the top routes or concepts thrown in certain situations?
  • Blocking scheme — That run-heavy team you face might be running the same toss play with different combinations of pullers. Knowing why they chose a certain blocking scheme against a certain front can be crucial.
  • Pitch direction — For teams that run a triple-option attack, the quarterback might be more comfortable pitching to one direction over the other.

If you’re already using Hudl Assist, the good news is most of this data is already taken care of for you. Not using Assist? Check out all of the data columns Hudl breaks down, and see how much more time you’ll spend analyzing rather than building.

Once you have your data, log in to your account to access the Hudl Beta and start scouting like Coach Vass.

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