Colleges use drones to help football players In this drones eye view, Miami quarterback Brad Kaaya, front center, gestures before a play begins during an NCAA college practice in Coral Gables, Florida (AP Photo / Miami Athletics)
Colleges use drones to help football players
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With the help of an affordable $500 toy, University of Miami football coaches and players are studying film like never before. The Hurricanes are using a drone with a camera attached to capture their practices. They study footage gleaned from its unusual vantage points along with what's filmed from traditional locations like sidelines and end zones.

"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. UCLA made headlines last spring when it revealed it has embraced the drone point of view. Tennessee and Louisville are among the few other schools who are known to have tinkered with the technology.

Miami isn't just tinkering. The drone is necessary equipment now for the Hurricanes, who are planning to acquire more and better ones soon. It will soon be part of Miami's recruiting pitches.

"We've always been behind in sports when it comes to technology," Miami offensive coordinator James Coley said. "Coaches don't like change. Nobody does this, not the way we do this."

Coley said he started seriously thinking about bringing a drone into practice this summer. He was on vacation in the British Virgin Islands and noticed one of the small devices hovering about.

He ordered a drone and the Hurricanes put it into regular use starting in September, and it's perhaps not a coincidence that Brad Kaaya the team's new freshman quarterback has been making better decisions ever since.

"When you see from the drone's point of view, you get a complete panoramic view of the field," Kaaya told The Associated Press. "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."

The drone, which gets moved to show numerous angles in each practice, has also led to some interesting moments.

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.

And during the week where Miami prepped for Duke, a higher-powered drone than what Miami uses was spotted at practice. Ultimately, it was deemed 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.

"It's close enough to the action, but you can see what's going on in the whole field," Kaaya said. "Every year, every college is looking to reinvent the wheel. You always have to come up with new ways, new technology. It's good to keep up with the times. And it helps."

Critical thinking challenge: What is the drones point of view and how is it different from other points of view?

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COMMENTS (181)
  • MasonSk-Wil
    11/06/2014 - 09:01 a.m.

    I think it is a good idea to have drones floating around. The reason is that if the QB made a bad play he can see what he did wrong and fix it,same with the RB.But I wouldn't pay 500 dollars for one drone .

  • kateh56
    11/06/2014 - 09:34 a.m.

    The drone flies over the football players so the drone gets to see the action from above. Before using drones the points of view were from sidelines and the end zone.

    • roberth1-jac
      12/18/2015 - 04:18 p.m.

      I agree with @kateh56's comment. She says " the drone flies over the football players so the drone gets to see the action from above." But I'd say the drone flies over the football players to see if they make a wrong move or wrong step.

  • Jake7010
    11/06/2014 - 10:48 a.m.

    I love how this can change football. the bad part is that people can cheat. but it can improve people. With the new tec. it will improve a lot of people and the way it they see the play.

  • climbersfootball
    11/06/2014 - 12:06 p.m.

    The drone's point of view is different from other cameras point of view because the drone's camera sees what their quarterbacks point of view making it easier for the coach to see why the quarterback made his decision. So this enhances their film productivity and it helps the team get better each and every practice.

  • Hugh12345678901234567890123456
    11/06/2014 - 12:16 p.m.

    It gives the coaches and players a better point of view to perfect any mistakes that the team makes over and over again. It is a very cool "toy".

  • JackR-5
    11/06/2014 - 12:31 p.m.

    A new way of looking at sports has arrived. Using drones and cameras, football coaches and players can now look at practices from completely different angles. This technology improves not only the coaches viewpoint, but the quarterback can learn from his errors. Currently at use in the University of Miami, technology like this hasn't been around for a long time. UCLA had announced the drone as of spring, but it is being used in Miami. The camera gives players a view of the whole field opposed to cameras in the end zones and sidelines. The drone makes a sound like rabid bees. I think that new technology can help sports a lot, causing new plays and ideas sparked from different viewpoints. The University of Miami has come up with a great idea that will help all of football.

  • ryan.krushensky68
    11/06/2014 - 01:03 p.m.

    That is really cool how the drone helps the players take photos to see what they are doing right and wrong. The drone can see the whole field so the quarter back can see different plays he can do. Technology is really cool how it can be part of anything in the world.

  • cpen10
    11/06/2014 - 01:51 p.m.

    The drone can see the practice from over head instead of from the sideline, letting the coach get a better view of the practice on tape. I think this is a really cool invention and i wouldn't be surprised if all colleges started using them.

  • JohnR-Law
    11/06/2014 - 02:04 p.m.

    Coaches are starting to use droids on the fields according to this article. I think this is cool because we are advancing a lot on technology. this helps the economy a lot and also the fields.

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