Scouting your opponents is an essential part of coaching football. Other sports do not scout to the extent that football requires. A coach's ability to watch film and make game plans is critical to success and can be the difference in winning and losing for his team. However, it can be extremely time consuming. Coaches should consider hiring an analyst to help them with breaking down film and the creation of game plans.
In the old days, college teams used advance scouts to watch teams in person. College games were filmed but there were a limited amount of copies. In high school, there was only one copy of the film and the previous Friday nights game was seldom involved in a film swap. Some teams even refused to swap film. It was common to send your JV coach to watch next week's opponent and bring back a scouting report. Once video tape became a part of the equation, there were many more copies of games and in person scouting became less and less. With internet swapping over the last decade, scouts have disappeared and the work is left to the coaching staff.
In the last 15 years, colleges have gone to the offensive and defensive analyst positions to serve as advance scouts. They work on the opponents two or three weeks in advance. A rival or big game opponent could require an analyst to breakdown every game of that team from the beginning of the year. He essentially becomes and expert on that opponent, from philosophy to plays to adjustments to injuries. The analyst does the grunt work, using Hudl Assist to help get an understanding of each opponent. An analyst in high school studies all three phases of football. He truly becomes and expert on each opponent, and can assist the coaches and answer specific questions about next week's opponent. Most importantly, he can give the coaching staff a complete scouting report on the upcoming opponent, with ideas of how and who to attack as they game plan.
The most important part of hiring an analyst is finding someone who has football knowledge and has some understanding of a team's terminology and offensive and defensive philosophy. Critical to the equation is that the analyst must have the time available to get the work done. Here are some suggestions on finding your analyst:
1) Find a college student who is a former player on your team. They will have a head start on knowing your terminology.
2) Find a college student who is studying to be a football coach. You can teach them your football language- formations, defenses, stunts, plays, etc. This is a great opportunity for a student to learn football and be a part of a team. Being an analyst will allow that student to learn a lot of football in a hurry and will look great on his resume' as he looks to get a full time job in coaching after graduation.
3) A retired football coach is a great option. Often they miss many aspects of coaching football and would love to be an asset to a coaching staff. Many retired coaches need a part time job to keep them busy, and an analyst position allows them to use their years of experience and work in football, as well as make a little money on the side. A retired coach could be a great resource for a head coach looking to improve his team and get them to that next level.
4) You may be able to find someone who does not coach a fall sport in your school that could serve as an analyst. This could be a teacher, a former coach, or someone on the baseball staff.
A good starting salary would be $100 per week during the regular season and $150 for playoff games. This would mean $1000 plus playoffs. Chances are that analyst would put in more hours than the coach would anticipate. It would be well worth the money, considering the amount of time that could be saved for the coaching staff on weekends during the season.
At times a coach may have other information he wants to know about a team-- like how many times they run a play toward their own sideline. The analyst has the time to go back and search the film to answer those questions on a Sunday afternoon instead of the defensive coordinator taking time away from his game plan duties.
The other good thing about being an analyst today is that being close to the coaches and the school is not a requirement. With the internet, cell phones and Hudl, the analyst has the ability to communicate and send documents, film and scouting reports back and forth regardless of his location. The analyst could be in California and still do a great job for a coaching staff in Geneva, Alabama.
During the break period between the end of spring practice and the beginning of summer workouts, consider the possibility of hiring on an analyst for the 2021 season.
In part 2, we will look in more detail the job of the analyst in high school football.