American Football

The Calendar-Altering Benefits of Sideline and Assist

By Adding Sideline and Assist, one Alabama team got more free time and more information to develop stronger game plans.

When the staff at Leeds High School (Ala.) added Hudl Sideline and Assist in conjunction last fall, the coaches expected to reap some benefits from the new additions.

What they didn’t foresee was that the technology would completely reshape their personal calendars, moving assignments up earlier in the week and freeing blocks of time for other activities.

“I’m just able to work more efficiently,” offensive coordinator Mikel Riggs said. “In the past, I worked on finalizing my game plan and my calls on Wednesday. Now I’m doing it all on Tuesday. I don’t have to input as much data. It’s already there for me. All I have to do is ingest it myself and process those things. It puts me ahead of the curve.”

We caught up with Riggs to get a day-by-day breakdown of how the staff’s schedules changed over the past few seasons. What we found was not only a changed squad, but one that took on a whole new identity.

Above schedule is without Sideline and Assist; bottom includes Sideline and Assist

Saturday

Without Assist/Sideline: This day is spent gathering data for next week’s game plan. The coaches need to have all the breakdowns completed for Sunday’s meetings.

With: As professional analysts break down the video, Riggs gets something very rare in the coaching profession - a day off. While he admits he might sneak in some game planning late at night, Saturday is devoted to spending time with the family and catching up on college football.

Sunday

Without Assist/Sideline: The staff meets and watches film together that they watched individually on Saturday. They begin to create their game plan and practice schedule for the coming week.

With: With the data in tow and linked to video, each member of the staff comes into the meeting with ideas for certain situations and how to attack the specific opponent.

“Now instead of watching film to develop a game plan, we watch film at the end to finalize our game plan,” Riggs said. “Instead of me developing the game plan and doing a cover sheet on Wednesday, our ideas are done on Sunday and I’ll have my call sheet on Monday. It puts me about two days ahead.”

Monday/Tuesday

Without Sideline/Assist: Practice and watch film.

With: The Greenwave are able to practice specific situations more often. Riggs dives into different scenarios to give his players a better look ahead of time.

“I can say, ‘Here are third-and-short cuts versus this front,’ and really give them more detailed information,” Riggs said. “Information is power as long as they can process it, and we try to give them as specific details as we can. Not too much, but just the right amount. So when we go through our walkthough, I’m not having to tighten anything up.”

Wednesday

Without Sideline/Assist: The coordinators begin to create their call sheets and solidify the plan for Friday’s game.

With: Rigg’s call sheet has already been completed and he’s sending out specific video to players.

Thursday

Without Sideline/Assist: The team goes through a walkthrough and the coaches finalize the game plan.

With: After the walkthrough, Riggs begins scouting for next week’s opponent, giving him a head start on his preparation.

Friday (after the game)

Without Sideline/Assist: Working on two computers, Riggs uploads both camera angles and matches them up, a process that typically takes about two hours. Around 11 o’clock the coaches start watching the video, which typically isn’t linked to data yet. The staff goes home around 3 o’clock and prepares for data entry on Saturday.

With: With the video already intercut and the plays matched, the staff starts watching film immediately after the game, identifying key plays and sending them to the players. By midnight, all the stats and video have been sent out to athletes and local newspapers. The coaches go home ready for a refreshing day off.

The Leeds staff saw significant changes to their schedules last season, allowing for more detailed breakdowns and information for their athletes as well as some free time for themselves. In the modern hectic environment that sees some staffs take up residence in their office, any way to get time back is extremely valuable.

“The main thing for me is that it’s all about time management, especially if you’re going to be successful and have a family,” Riggs said. “It’s just a big time saver. We’re able to do more things and better use our time football-wise.”

See these benefits for yourself by implementing Assist and Sideline at your program.