Minnesota stays in the game with Hudl Pro

September, 4, 2009
9/04/09
11:19
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg


Jedd Fisch's cell phone blows up at all hours of the night, but the Minnesota offensive coordinator doesn't mind.

Golden Gophers starting quarterback Adam Weber is studying the game, and that's the way Fisch likes it.

"I gets calls from Adam at all times," Fisch said, "asking, 'Hey, I just got done watching practice. Was I supposed to check to this protection or that one?' I tell him and all of our players that if there's ever a time they want to watch their practice tape on their own, it's now available to them. And call me."

Minnesota's film review doesn't end when Fisch or one of the other coaches switches off a TV or a laptop in a team meeting room. It doesn't end when players walk out of the Gibson-Nagurski Football Complex.

Thanks to Hudl Pro, Gophers players and coaches are just a few mouse clicks away from all the essential information they need to prepare for the football season. Hudl Pro allows teams to keep practice tapes, coaches' notes, scouting reports, news feeds, PowerPoint presentations (a Fisch favorite) and much more in an online library that all team personnel can access through their PCs.

So even after players retreat to their dorm rooms or apartments, they can stay very much in the game. Same with the coaches, in those rare occasions where they actually leave the office.

"It allows you as a player to put in that extra time," Minnesota running back Duane Bennett said. "Maybe you’re not able to stay at the complex for extended hours, but being able to come home and see practice after you just got done, being able to make corrections on the fly and then being able to come in to the next day with a sense of what you need to correct and what your opponent’s going to be doing, it’s a great addition for us.

"The program really helps."

Minnesota is one of only three FBS programs that uses the Hudl software, joining Tulsa and Nebraska, where the idea was conceived and developed by three students several years ago. Former Nebraska coach Bill Callahan brought the program to the New York Jets, where he now serves as assistant head coach and offensive line coach. The Cleveland Browns also use the Hudl programs.

Fisch, an NFL assistant before joining Minnesota's staff in January, visited several of his former colleagues with the Jets this spring and learned about Hudl.

"As I was watching it, I was infatuated with the things it could do," Fisch said. "Mark Sanchez is there, and they're teaching the quarterbacks [how to use it]. It's a tremendous learning tool."

Fisch had no trouble selling Gophers head coach Tim Brewster on adding the Hudl programs at Minnesota. Both expect to discuss the new programs with recruits, especially quarterbacks.

"It's been great for the quarterback to learn from," Brewster said.

Minnesota's practice tapes go online five minutes after they're complete. Fisch can log on and see his scheme installation from the first day of training camp until today. Bennett uses Hudl every day during the preseason and expects to do so three or four times a week after classes start up.

Almost every team makes DVDs of practice, which usually are distributed at the end of the work week. With Hudl Pro, Minnesota players and coaches no longer have to wait.

"As it's been publicized recently, you're only with your players about 45 minutes a day [for film] in college football," Fisch said. "This is an ability [for players] on their own time, at their own leisure, to be able to flip on their computer and instead of surf the Web for 45 minutes, they can watch themselves compete."

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