Steve Conner uses video to connect his all-star team of players from all across the state of Texas.

Steve Conner was faced with a conundrum. Texas is one of the nation's most talent-rich football states, but it's also one of the largest. Conner wanted to build an all-star team to compete among America's best, but how could he realistically expect to form any sort of cohesion between players that live four hours apart?

Hudl is the cyber-bridge that makes Conner’s goals possible. From his home in Katy, Conner sends out video of previous games so players from across the state see the schemes in action. He also shares his playbook through Hudl, allowing the athletes to study and go through regional practices.

"We used Hudl and the Hudl playbook to shorten the mental gap so when they show up they at least have a base level of knowledge,” Conner said. "We also share video from prior seasons so they understand down to the o-line stance steps and the blocking schemes. It’s easier to plug a kid into our system.

"It’s a way for us to collaborate across the entire state, communicate and share video."

Using players from the 2020 and ’21 classes, Conner has managed to assemble a bevy of talent, and many of his players already have profiles on Rivals and 247 Sports. But getting them together and on the same page for events can prove tricky.

Conner, a youth coach of 16 years who has used Hudl for the past six, executed this strategy successfully a few years back in the sixth-grade FBU National Championship, a 64-team, single-elimination team that pits the country’s top squads against each other. In addition to sharing the playbook, Conner would have a parent film each game. The coaches would break down the video that evening, then give the players their next assignments during dinner for the following day’s game.

"We used Hudl as a means to communicate prior to getting everyone there. The challenge with those types of events is you can only have a very limited playbook because you can only install so much. But the kids are smart enough now that if we can at least leverage a tool like you guys have." Steve Conner, Texas youth football coach

Of course, a system like this can’t succeed without buy-in from the players, who must put forth the effort to familiarize themselves with foreign plays and teammates that live hours away. But Hudl allows Conner to track who is accessing Hudl and for how long, allowing him to keep his athletes accountable.

"I made it a pre-req for our kids before they even step on the field,” Conner said. "They have to log in and be accountable. They need to use the tool. You can’t put enough into a well-managed, well-coached team that knows what to expect the next day.

"(Without Hudl) it would be an old-school, two-dimensional printout playbook with no security around it, no notes, no video. Having the ability to flag certain plays and upload the playbook and the usage is, that wouldn’t be possible."

Conner’s ambitions are lofty, but he believes he can make it work. He has coaches in the Houston and Dallas/Fort Worth areas that will hold regional practices together this fall so the team only has to actually practice all at once twice a month, saving hours of travel time.

"The glue that will hold it all together will be Hudl," Conner said.