BRADENTON -- The technological revolution has taken high school football into a new dimension even Hollywood with all its imagination would find fascinating.
IPads and tablets are now part of a player's equipment and instant in-game analysis is at his fingertips.
The National Federation of State High School Associations is allowing use of iPads/tablets for instant analysis for the first time this season.
"I saw a lot of virtual reality and sat in on meetings with that. The technology they have is amazing," IMG head coach Kevin Wright said. "You can video your own practice and then see it through the eyes of your quarterback. Those video games we've seen for years are now becoming a reality. There is a little bit of a price tag with everything, but technology is advancing. You can even write notes on the video screen so players can see what they did right or wrong."
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There is more just around the corner befitting a remake of "Star Wars."
In the near future, fans could see mini-drones flying over the field during a game capturing all the action in high definition.
Quarterbacks could ready for battle by sitting in an office playing a virtual reality game geared to mimic the tendencies of the next opponent.
"It's a no-brainer. The only thing is cost," says Manatee head football coach John Booth.
It's exciting but comes with the good and the bad, depending on a player's talent and work ethic, coaches say.
Everything about each player will be exposed. Players won't be able to escape coaches, who will text in-game analysis, reminders and other communications.
Make a mistake on the football field and no longer can you blame it on a teammate and hope all will be forgiven by the time coaches review film.
Part of the gear for Manatee High players this year is an iPad. Most public schools have tight budgets, but Manatee's vast network of boosters helped equip the team with the latest electronic gear.
This season, when the Manatee High offense finishes a drive, players will huddle up on the sideline with iPads to see every play. Coaches can give an instant critique, which some players might not like.
Nearly every team has gone wireless so long cords that look as if they are growing out of coach's head are, for the most part, gone.
"If we go on an eight-play drive and score a touchdown, by the time we run off the field and kick the extra point, we will have that drive loaded up on our iPads and be able to show our players," Booth said. "We will be able to see the other team's defensive alignments and how they adjust. It gives us an advantage. We don't have to wait until the second half to make our adjustments."
Coaches will also know exactly how much time players spend on every digital playbook assignment.
"A lot of players don't like that," one coach said.
Digital playbooks save paper and coaches don't have to worry about players losing pages or misplacing them.
"The headsets we use are all wireless and everything we do is all in the headset," Booth said. "We don't have wires attached to our hips. It's all one unit."
When Booth talks about the virtual reality games available for quarterbacks he can't hide his excitement, but admits cost is a big factor.
"Our kids are brought up on video games, but I just don't know if it's something high schools can afford," Booth said.
Nearly every school in the area uses Hudl, a Nebraska company that puts footage up for more than 14,000 high schools across the country. They can do almost anything, including scouting reports of an upcoming opponent, leaving coaches to coach.
Typical cost for the program is about $1,500. If you want more tech, it can cost up to $10,000.
"Sometimes it comes down to whether you want more technology or to buy your kids new uniforms and better equipment. We pay about $1,700 for Hudl," Palmetto head football coach Dave Marino said. "It's a good tool to help our kids get recruited for college. Kids respond better to video analysis. Everything is more efficient now. In the old days we had to video a kid then make 50 copies and then send it out to the colleges."
Booth said he and his staff prefer to critique an opponent themselves.
New Cardinal Mooney head football coach Drew Lascari, who coached at national power Don Bosco of New Jersey, brought his technology south.
He couldn't join Cardinal Mooney until summer vacation started so he sent digital playbooks to his assistant coaches and players.
"We are going to film from two different angles," Lascari said. "It's Hudl-compatible so picture a big tripod on a pole 30 feet in the air. On top of the pole is a camera and the bottom of the pole is monitored. There will be someone on the ground controlling the camera and it all uploads into Hudl."
Drones are also starting to make an impact on high school football around the country. From overhead vantage points, drones provide unique views unmatched by ground-bound equipment. A mini-drone typically flies about 40 feet above the ground from behind the line of scrimmage. The cost to operate a drone ranges from $750 to $2,000. As yet, no Manatee public school has used it during a game.
The Florida High School Athletic Association allows drones during the regular season and practices. It prohibits drones during postseason play.
The excitement drones generates among coaches indicates using them during a game (with the opponent's permission) is not far away.