Arizona football: Film study more important than ever for players, coaches

Given new technology, Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez said there's"no excuse to not be able to truly evaluate a guy's talent."

Picture this: It's 4:30 on a Friday afternoon and the boss wants to talk. After a long, tough week, it's time for film evaluation.

You sit down in the office and, despite working hard the past five days, the film shows a few mistakes.

There are some highlights, too, but the boss is more focused on the mistakes, rewinding the tape several times for you to see.

Sound fun?

Now, substitute weekly for daily and you get a feel for what it's like to be a football player for the Arizona Wildcats.

Coach Rich Rodriguez and his staff are always watching.

"Everything we do in a competitive situation, one-on-one, team ... we watch every day," Rodriguez said.

It takes some getting used to.

"When you're young, it can sometimes be tough to go in there and watch yourself mess up on the same thing over and over again," fourth-year linebacker Jake Fischer said.

"Now, I don't care if I mess up. I go in there every day and try to find out what I can do better."

Using film in football is nothing new.

But with new technology, it's more accessible and a bigger part of the game than ever.

Here's a look at how players and coaches use the tool during spring football to help get to the bottom line: winning games.


What they use it for: Evaluation and teaching.

How they use it: Rodriguez's staff meets after every practice and watches all the team periods together. Coaches take notes and listen to feedback from their peers.

The offensive and defensive coaches then split up and go over all the individual drills in smaller groups.

Why they use it: Arizona's coaches can watch tape on TVs, computers, iPads and even phones, meaning there's "no excuse to not be able to truly evaluate a guy's talent," Rodriguez said.

It's also used to help the coaches improve. If they see a player make a mistake, they can show it to their pupil and aim to correct it.

Quotable: "You want the kids to understand why you're asking them to do what you're asking them to do - to get efficient at the techniques you're asking them to do. Everything is filmed from an evaluation process and also as a learning tool." - defensive coordinator Jeff Casteel.


What they use it for: Improvement and gaining a competitive advantage.

How they use it: During the season and spring football, players are watching film at least once a day. Most of the veterans also bring tape home with them; there, they can watch individual drills on their own.

The video department creates a archive file for each player. The athlete can then go into the football offices by himself, pull up the footage and watch every practice play he was involved in.

Why they use it: There are several benefits. Players will use the film to help improve technique by watching some of the practice drills that focus more on fundamentals and less on teamwork and game planning. The team drills in practice and game film allow the players to see what the opposition is planning.

Quotable: "If I need to fix one little thing, it's real helpful. And then recognition-wise, I'll study the stances of the linemen, the backs to get a better idea of what's going on. The more film you watch, the more you can see your improvement and what you need to work on. And then you can just fly around and play football when you're out there." - Fischer.

Up next

• March 29: Scrimmage, 7 p.m. at Phoenix College

• April 13: Spring game, 1 p.m. at Kindall/Sancet Stadium

Contact reporter Daniel Berk at or 573-4330. On Twitter @DSBerk.