With the ability to add your own custom columns to the Hudl Beta, consider tracking these underutilized data points in your scouting workflow.
The Hudl Beta is allowing coaches to work even quicker this season as we all hit the ground running. And now with the ability to add your own custom columns to this scouting Beta, the possibilities are limitless.
When it comes to what data points coaches track in Hudl, there are rarely two coaches using the same workflow. That’s why customization is such a game-changer for the beta.
When you add custom columns to your grid, they automatically populate under in your Hudl Beta under the “Other” section.
Moving them to another section, such as Offensive Tendencies, is easy. Just open the card, and click where you want it to go.
I spoke with a handful of coaches that are devising custom scouting tags in Hudl to make their scouting methods more definitive and, in turn, getting a leg up on their opponents.
We came across some popular examples, such as home bench tendency for offenses that like to run certain concepts to the sideline. But we also found lesser-used tags like these ones below can be instrumental in exposing crucial tendencies that may normally fly under the radar.
The ‘Next’ Custom Tag
St. John Paul II High School
When scouting his next opponents’ offense during game week, Everett will create a custom column labeled “next”, where he will input what happened on the previous play from scrimmage.
For the first offensive play of the game, he’ll tag the word “Game” in the next column. If the quarterback throws an incomplete pass on that first down, he’ll tag “incomplete” in the next column on the second play, signifying the previous play.
During the course of his breakdown, he will use the following tags:
- Tackle for loss
- Complete pass
- First down completion
- First down run
- End of game
- End of half
When this data is filtered and analyzed with all other important situations like down and distance and field zone, it gives good situational insight into an offensive play-caller’s rhythm.
“Now you can get a really strong insight into the play caller and what he likes to do in those fluid situations,” said Everett. “When you compare those numbers with their generic overall numbers from personnel and formation, you can zero in and capitalize on those specific situations.”
South River High School
On top of traditional data points like play concept, field zone and down-and-distance, the defensive staff at South River charts both the width and depth of offensive linemen’s splits. This comes in handy particularly on early, run-heavy downs such as first and 10, second and medium, and second and short.
The goal is to identify a tendency towards a particular run scheme. Using the end zone cut, they create a custom tag with the labels “wide”, “tight” or “normal.” They’ll work through the same procedure with running back location in shotgun alignments using the tags “deep,” “sidecar,” and “wide.”
Once these data points are filtered with the specific play concept, they’re able to make accurate predictions on alignment and concept marriages.
For Erxleben, the importance of tracking these data points lies in the productivity of his no-huddle defense, where calls are predominantly made from the sideline and in the booth.
“We tend to check our pressure based upon certain alignments, which comes from the booth first,” he said. “Those alignments can often dictate our calls because our booth staff is identifying them pre-snap and making the right calls accordingly.”
P.J. Fleck’s ‘78 Percent’ Matrix
Thomas Downey High School
University of Minnesota head coach P.J. Fleck swears by his “78 Percent Rule”. The rule says that you have a 78 percent chance of winning the game if you win one of three stats: explosive plays, turnovers or missed/broken tackles.
If you win two of those stats, Fleck says your chances improve to 90 percent. All three? You can probably guess.
Plaa has not only altered his focus in practice to addressing three elements, but also started charting each of these categories for his opponents for both sides of the ball. This fall, he’s taking extra time studying how takeaways occur situationally, then he builds in his defensive practice plan to devise reps to attack those weaknesses.
If a quarterback routinely has deflected passes, Plaa will spend more practice teaching defenders how to bat passes and corral them. From an offensive perspective, he’ll study all of the explosive plays (20 yards or more) the opponent has surrendered and work to mirror each of those scenarios and build a game plan around it.
“For example, one of our former opponents likes to play seven in the box and play loose cover zero,” said Plaa. “So, one team last year hurt them with a mirrored Post-Wheel combo. The safeties on both sides would freeze their feet and react to the inside receiver’s route. We throw a lot of posts in our offense and we made sure we have to have this play call all over our play sheet.”
And because there is a significant correlation between yards/first downs given up and missed tackles, he will create a custom column to chart his defenses missed tackles. Then he can easily sort and create a playlist on the types of missed tackles (in the hole, sideline, open field, etc.) with the intent of devoting more time on those scenarios in-season. He has also started to track his player’s broken tackles to reinforce the 78 percent matrix.
Pass Pro Efficiency
Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology
Terre Haute, Ind.
At Rose-Hulman Institute, Davis created a “Pass Pro” category in Hudl when devising his weekly game plan. He’ll study each pass concept from the opponent’s offense, then add a column tracking whether or not the quarterback completed the attempt and if he was moved off his spot. He’ll quantify these numbers and compare their efficiency to make determinations on creating pressure.
For example, if the quarterback shows he is 90 percent efficient when standing in his intended spot, Davis will design most of his rush patterns to get the quarterback on the move. Conversely, if the quarterback is 85 percent efficient when he is either hit or moved off his spot, he might devise a controlled rush plan instead. The goal is to get the quarterback off his spot on more than 50 percent of snaps.
Football has always been a copycat game, and good scouting is a byproduct of studying how opponents’ deficiencies get exposed during the course of the season.
Each opponent has flaws, either by personnel or scheme, and it’s our job as game planners to identify and exploit these weaknesses. And as we continue to navigate through the most uncertain period in our coaching tenure, utilizing custom tags like the ones above can provide stability in your game planning methods.