|by Nikki Steele|
Swinney told the media recently that he was in an airport with Stanford coach David Shaw when he got “iPad envy” and he knew right then that he needed to pitch the idea to the Clemson administration to provide a technological edge for his coaches and players.
Swinney knew that the benefits would far outweigh the costs, but he needed to convince the administration of such.
“We started talking about it last spring,” Swinney said after Wednesday’s practice. “In fact, I went on a trip and I was sitting in the airport with David Shaw and he pulls out his Ipad and is watching spring ball. And, I said, ‘What the heck?’ So, I had Ipad envy. I was like, ‘Wait a minute, man. We’re missing the boat.’ That was the first time that I had seen it. There were some teams last year using them. But, obviously that is a big expense that you have to commit to. The company that we deal with, we called them, had them come in and give us a presentation on it and then presented it to our administration as ‘this is going to help us. This is going to help us in a big way.’”
With the iPad, the players and coaches have everything they need to prepare for game day at their fingertips, no matter where they are.
“Literally, they have everything. They have practice, the have cut-ups, the playbook and the gameplan,” Swinney said. They can always be connected and study ball.”
For players like sophomore defensive tackle Carlos Watkins, it’s easier to watch film at home without all of the hustle and bustle of the WestZone.
“It makes it a whole lot easier on you because they have our plays on there now,” Watkins said. “You can watch film at home, and it really helps you out because you can watch film at home and you don't have to come here [WestZone]. It actually helps us out a lot. When I watch film at home, I can just focus on the things that I need to work on. I can already tell a difference.”
The coaches, on the other hand, have everything they need, even if they are spending long hours on the recruiting trail.
“From the coaches’ standpoint, it’s the same thing,” Swinney said. “We have it wherever we go whether we are on the road or sitting in an airport. You can be more efficient in preparing for meetings.”
With technology comes security concerns, but Swinney said that the iPad and programs are password protected and everything stored on the tablet can be wiped clean in a matter of seconds.
“It is all password protected and we can control it,” Swinney said. “If a guy wants to jump a train and skip out of town on us, we can delete everything with the click of a button. It’s a fascinating tool.”
As much as the iPad helps Swinney now, he can’t help but wonder how much easier life would have been as a graduate assistant in 1993 had the iPads been invented.
“I started as GA in 1993. At that time, you had two GA’s- one offensive GA and one defensive GA,” Swinney said. “That was it. We had to do everything- drew every card, broke down every game. We did it all. There were no video GA’s or any of that. I just think back to those days and those were the hardest two-and-a-half years of my life between getting my masters and doing that. I think about where technology is now and it’s just blows my mind. I know there are other people that are saying, ‘hey, cut that eight millimeter tape.’”
With the iPad now part of his daily life, Swinney is only left to marvel at what technological advancement will come along next to ease the life of a football player or coach.
“The advantages we have in technology now are just fascinating, but if you’re not keeping up with it then you’re losing out on a major edge and getting behind and that’s why we have always ask ourselves what’s next,” Swinney said. “How do we keep getting better? Maybe it’s something like that from a development standpoint. There’s always a way to get better at what you’re doing.”
Nikki Steele can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org