Football: MP vs Cesar Chavez

Mountain Pointe is taking advantage of a new rule that allows teams to take a picture of each play in order to make adjustments in alignments.

[David Jolkovski/AFN]

Football coaches are notorious for doing anything that they perceive gives them an advantage.

If it means bringing some turf from their own field to an away game, then you can believe someone is in charge of grabbing dirt, putting it in a container and making sure it makes it on to the bus.

A rule was passed before the 2013-14 season in some states that allowed teams to use recording devices right on the sidelines to film the opposition’s alignment.

This is the first year Arizona can do it, so it will be interesting to see how, and which, teams take advantage of it.

Desert Vista hasn’t gone that route just yet, while Mountain Pointe has done it as soon as it was made available.

“I feel like I am getting a good-enough look from the coaches in the (press) box,” Thunder coach Dan Hinds said. “I have confidence in those guys to get it right. It’s a great rule and might be something we do in the future, but right now we trust what we see.”

The coaches are not be able to use the devices to review decisions by game officials or to communicate with players while they are playing, but coaches are allowed to use recordings on the sidelines and at the half.

Coaches can show players the opposing team’s alignments and their own positioning. Think about the footage from NFL sidelines that has been seen for years of offensive or defensive units looking at Polaroids when they come off the field.

“We can recall it real quick,” Mountain Pointe offensive coordinator Eric Lauer said. “If there is any question whether you should have been there and you were there, we can see it right now.”

The man in charge of it for Mountain Pointe just might be the next Oliver Stone and be in line to make a remake of “Any Given Sunday.”

“No, no, no,” Pride freshmen coach Jim Bradford said. “I’m just doing what I can to help them. Whatever they ask I do.”

That includes standing at the right angle, raising the tablet up to the correct height and juggling two separate tablets — one for both sides of the ball — in order to have the feedback ready after a play, a drive or at halftime.

Lauer has noticed how the tablet has reduced the amount of time writing Xs and Os on the whiteboard in between drives.

“It cuts down on the chalk time,” he said. “We don’t have to use the board as much anymore because we have the images right now.”

Welcome to 2014 and instant access to just about everything, including the opposition’s reaction to certain formations.

Mountain Pride coach Norris Vaughan is on board, but he feels like it is a secondary to the instincts of the assistants he has around him.

“We got coaches that recognize it pretty good and guys in the box see it pretty quick,” Vaughan said. “It’s all I care about, getting the information quickly. You pretty much know it already, but that just confirms it.”

Lauer comes over to Bradford between plays and/or drives, flips through the images and relays the information gleaned from the snippets over to Vaughan.

Did it make a big difference in the three blowouts thus far this season? Probably not, but now that the Pride are facing their two biggest games of the regular season in Chandler and Hamilton, maybe they pick up on something.

One of the coaches might catch something from an image after looking at the tablet, leading to a substitution or call a play based on what the opposition showed them in the series before just like NFL teams have done for years with printed photos.

“It’s made available to us, so why not use it?” Vaughan said. “We are going to utilize every tool we got.”

• Contact writer: (480) 898-7915 or Follow him on Twitter @JSkodaAFN.

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