Receiver Pulling Double Duty to Supply Stats to State Champs

Jacob Morrow is helping Millard North (Neb.) both on the field and in the film room.

Receiver Pulling Double Duty to Supply Stats to State Champs

Jacob Morrow is helping Millard North (Neb.) both on the field and in the film room.

The light bulb came on for Mark Chavez, defensive coordinator for Millard North High School in Omaha, Neb., in late July while talking with senior receiver Jacob Morrow about his post-grad plans. Morrow has long been fascinated by the intersection of sports and statistics, and hopes to pursue that interest in college and beyond.

The Mustangs use Hudl to break down game video, but Chavez says the staff also has what some might call an “old-fashioned style.” He spoke with head coach Fred Petito about whether a marriage of Morrow’s interest in statistics and Millard North’s traditions was possible. Would he be open to having Morrow assist in video breakdowns and supply relevant statistics?

Petito signed off immediately and Morrow, when presented with the proposal, jumped at it.

“We had gone to some clinics and buzzwords were being used,” Chavez said. “To hear Jake was interested in that, we thought we might be able to do something for him to help him get on track with something he’s interested in. When he’s looking at colleges, that’s something he can put on his resume and get involved with the program right away.”

Morrow dove into his new role headfirst. The coaches let him know what would be expected of him at the first staff meeting. Just a few days later, they found Morrow’s first comments in their Hudl library.

Morrow’s current assignment is examining Millard North’s 2016 schedule and deciphering what each opponent ran last season.

“I keep track of what formation they’re in and what play they’re running out of it,” Morrow said. “Then I can create a report in there and track percentages and stuff. What formations do they like to run, and what plays do they like to run out of that formation? I think as we get through the season and the coaches are like, ‘We’ve gotten this far being successful. We can take it to the next step,’ then I might start looking at down and distance. Right now it’s super basic.”

Chavez said the Mustangs are already learning new insights from Morrow’s work, and Petito has used the extra information to help his scout teams give the top units an accurate look at what they’ll see from opponents.

Hudl has allowed Morrow to break games down, piece by piece. The numbers he’s able to tally help him uncover new discoveries to deliver to the coaches.

“It’s super user-friendly and super easy to operate. It also has the Reports section where you can take all the complicated data and pick out the little pieces that you need to make it really easy for someone else who has no idea what’s going on behind the scenes. You can say, ‘Hey, this is exactly the information that you need.’” Jacob Morrow, Millard North wide receiver

Morrow’s early work has drawn rave reviews from the coaches, who appreciate having the extra information at their disposal.

“The detail with which he’s approached this with has been really good,” Chavez said. “We’ve tweaked a few things in the last week with how we want to see things and he’s done that and he’s given us what we’ve wanted. I would say the most impressive thing is his ability to take that time, be detail-oriented and give us a product that looks great.”

Morrow’s role will likely change and evolve as the season begins - Chavez called it a “learn-as-you-go situation.”

There is a reason Millard North is the defending state champion and has won five titles in the last 12 years. The Mustangs pounce when they see a new opportunity to improve, and empowering Morrow to chase his passion benefits both parties.

“To have great teams you have to have great kids like Jake,” Chavez said. “They might not be the primary guy on Thursday and Friday night, but he’s definitely one of those guys that makes great teams possible because of his interest and passion and being on time, being on task.

“You look at it and say, ‘Thank you so much. Guys like you make this go.’”

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