Here Is How College Football Teams Are Using Virtual Reality To Change The Way The Game Is Played
For years, college football coaches have been looking for ways to try and get a leg up on their competition without bending or flat-out breaking NCAA rules. And, finally, there’s a way that a few schools are beginning to utilize virtual reality into doing just that.
A recent Indy Star story came out talking about how the Purdue Boilermakers football team is one of six teams in the nation—and the only in the Big Ten Conference—using EON Sports’ virtual reality trainer, which gives each one of their quarterbacks the ability to toss a mask over their eyes and run the team’s own offensive plays versus various base defenses that they will see in live action.
Rather than cycle through different players under center in limited practice time to compete for reps, the Boilermakers are taking a more 21st Century approach, and it seems to be a great tool in evaluating players.
Per the aforementioned Indy Star report, here’s what the team’s quarterback coach, Tim Lester said:
“Right now this is purely a trainer, because we’ve got young guys and I want them to be able to get millions of reps against every coverage I want them to see, and see if they can react fast and have answers to where they’re going with each ball.”
The program runs through an app on a phone and tracks various variables like frequency and duration of the players’ usage, giving coaches an in-depth analysis of their quarterback’s vision and reactions.
The biggest impact might be on incoming players, who can use the tool to learn a playbook faster and read defenses better, with Lester discussing how it helped UCLA Bruins freshman quarterback Josh Rosen last year, saying, “He has thousands of reps before he ever took a snap.”
And it seems as if the players are enjoying how the new tech is helping their progress, with Purdue’s David Blough describing the experience, per Indy Star:
“You look to your right, and I can see Domo (Young), and look to my left and I can see (DeAngelo) Yancey,” Blough said. “You have all your motions and all the pre-snap stuff. You see your coverage and you should know where you should be going with the ball based on what the defense is giving us.”
Of course, simulating game action isn’t the only way that college football teams are using virtual reality, as teams like the Michigan Wolverines have even gone as far as to use it to impress recruits, with the Wolverines putting together a segment for players to see “the day in the life of a Michigan football player,” and another one describing the “Michigan game-day experience.”