Colleges use drones to help football players
With the help of a $500 toy, University of Miami football coaches and players are studying film like never before. The Hurricanes are using a drone. It has a camera attached to capture the team's practices.
"It's all about getting the players information they need so they can play fast and execute," Miami coach Al Golden said. "This drone, in terms of quarterback play, I don't know if there's any other way to do it anymore."
Miami isn't the first to bring a drone into practices. Last spring, UCLA revealed it has embraced the drone point of view. Tennessee and Louisville also have tinkered with the technology.
Miami isn't just tinkering. The drone is necessary equipment now. The Hurricanes plan to acquire more and better ones soon. It will be part of Miami's recruiting pitches. That's where they try to get top high school players to come to UM.
"We've always been behind in sports when it comes to technology," Miami offensive coordinator James Coley said. "Coaches don't like change."
Coley said he started seriously thinking about bringing a drone into practice this summer. He was on vacation in the British Virgin Islands. He noticed one of the small devices hovering about.
He ordered a drone. The Hurricanes put the drone into regular use in late September. Quarterback Brad Kaaya has made better decisions ever since.
"Yyou get a complete panoramic view of the field," Kaaya said of the drone. "You see what I'm seeing. You see the whole field better. And then it's easier to show coaches what I was thinking at any given moment."
Players have been known to gesture wildly at the drone after making a big play. Kaaya had to learn to get used to having a machine buzzing.
"It's like rabid ... bees," he said.
When Miami prepared to play Duke, another drone was spotted at practice. It turned out to be a fraternity prank.
"I was thinking it was Duke," Kaaya said. "They're pretty smart over there."
It wasn't Duke. And spying isn't permitted under NCAA rules. Teams can use it at their own practices only, not games.