Football Film Study In The Digital Age

OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM
Assistant Director of Sports Video Chris Buttgen

OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM
Assistant Director of Sports Video Chris Buttgen
OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM

Oct. 25, 2013

By Austin Miller, OleMissSports.com

OXFORD, Miss. -- Whether it was good or bad, and no matter what happened, on Sundays, the Ole Miss coaches and players put the previous game in the trash and it's over.

For Andy Commer, Coordinator for Football Video Services, and Chris Buttgen, Assistant Director of Sports Video, their work has just begun. Their main duty is shooting and editing all football games and practices.

For home games, the video staff uses five cameras, one from the top of the stadium, one from each sideline and two on the field.

While television crews shoot games for entertainment, the video staff shoots games, as well as practices, for teaching, and it's done in a particular way to accomplish that goal.

They shoot two angles: "All-22" from the sidelines, which is focused on the wide receivers and defensive backs, and the "Tight End Zone," which gets the offensive and defensive linemen, running backs and linebackers.

"We group the video so when offensive coaches see the game, they're just watching all our offensive plays, and the same for defense and special teams," Commer said.

"Chris and I start editing while the game is going on, so that as soon as the game is over, we can give the game to the coaches on their laptops or iPads because the coaches want to be able to watch the game we just played and be able to break it down and be done with it."

The coaches watch the previous game's video later that day, then get up and watch it again the next day. And then, they're done with that game. Coaches spend most of their time, however, watching their opponents.

For Southeastern Conference games, there is a conference-wide rule, where member schools swap all game video with their SEC opponents every week (not practices). And there's a similar process for non-conference games, whether it's swapping video with the opponent, or an opponent of the opponent.

"When I'm in here on Saturday night, when we're putting our game together, we're watching on the computer to see if the latest game of our next opponent has come in," Commer said. "If it's in, then we're going to download it and import into our network, so on Sunday morning, as soon as the coaches watch our game, they can go ahead and watch that last game of our next opponent."

That video, which can then be loaded to a DVD, laptop, or even an app on the iPad, is cut up and sorted by offense, defense and the respective special teams units. It is also tagged with down and distance, as it cycles between the scoreboard, the "All-22" shot and the "Tight End Zone" shot, so that you see the exact same play one right after another.

During this process, the graduate assistants and interns are working a week ahead, breaking down video and preparing reports for the opponent two games away. Part of that includes cut-ups sorted by down, distance, formation and play and then broken down into the team's language, such as a particular coverage.

"For a conference opponent, coaches have access to every bit of video from the past three years and all the data that accompanies that," Buttgen said. "They can sort, they can make cut-ups, they can look at previously made cut-ups.

"The graduate assistants make cut-ups, but coaches also want to make their own cut-ups that they want to watch."

From the video coordinators, to the graduate assistants, to the coaches, the process of breaking down video continues with the players.

The coaches only get the players for 20 hours a week, so the players only see their previous game on Sunday afternoon with their coach. With the rest of their film study time, they watch video of their opponents.

"Our players will mostly watch film of our opponents rather than themselves," Buttgen said. "We'll make player DVDs with all the data on the screen. Some of the players who have their own iPads, they can download the ThunderCloud app and watch film on their own, and players can make their own cut-ups.

"In terms of with the coaching staff, they're probably only going to get about five hours total of watching film. You'll see players up here watching film on their own in meeting rooms, or they come in and ask us to put it on their iPad, or we get them a DVD, it's up to them."

For practices, it's a similar process for the video coordinators and graduate assistants, but with a lot less data, as they shoot and break down every play of every drill.

"We do practice while it's going on," Commer said. "We will drop cards during practice, so when the guys come in, we have the first half of practice done. And then while the graduate assistants are entering data from the first part, we're working on the second half of practice. Hopefully, 30 minutes after they're off the field, practice is done."

Commer and Buttgen also share duties and responsibilities outside of shooting and editing games and practices. Commer, who's in his second stint in Oxford, having returned in March 2008, is also in charge of players' per diem on the road.

Buttgen, who's in the second year at Ole Miss, having risen from student worker to full-time video coordinator at Arkansas State, also produces the weekly highlight motivational videos, monitors the team's social media activity and serves as the music DJ at practice.

As technology improves, and the renovation and expansion of the Manning Center continues, particularly in the new team room, Commer and Buttgen also work to ensure all those changes are designed to be compatible with the current system.

As Buttgen said, if it plugs into a wall and has an electrical outlet, it probably has something to do with them.

"Technology is always changing," Commer said. "If you don't keep up, you're going to be left behind."

Austin Miller is a writer and blogger for OleMissSports.com. He joined the staff in June 2013 after serving as sports editor of the Daily Mississippian. Follow him on Twitter @austinkmiller

Ole Miss Gear
    Facebook
    Twitter
    • Loading Tweets...
      1 second ago
    Blog
    • Freeze, Saban Preview Saturday's SEC Showdown

      Wednesday, October 1, 2014 - Football

      Highlights from Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze and Alabama head coach Nick Saban on the SEC teleconference Wednesday, ahead of Saturday's much-anticipated matchup. For the full SEC teleconference, go here. Alabama head coach Nick Saban (starts at 36:16 mark)... read more

    • Striking The Right Balance Offensively

      Tuesday, September 30, 2014 - Football

      Ole Miss has been held under 100 yards rushing in each of its last meetings with Alabama, a 33-14 loss in 2012 and a 25-0 loss in 2013. Running the ball effectively and finding a balance is one area, the... read more

    • 3 Things About Gameday - Ole Miss vs. Alabama

      Tuesday, September 30, 2014 - Football

      read more

    • Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review (Sept. 22-28)

      Monday, September 29, 2014 - Athletics

      Ole Miss Athletics Week in ReviewSept. 22-28, 2014Football- No. 10 Ole Miss used a dominant defensive effort to put away Memphis 24-3 on Saturday, setting up one of the biggest games in recent history this coming Saturday against the Alabama... read more

    • PHOTOS: Week-Long Timeline of Powder Blues

      Monday, September 29, 2014 - Football

      1. Tuesday 9/23 at 4PM @CoachHughFreeze reveals the helmets to the @olemissfb team at team meeting. pic.twitter.com/8jpVCvny4p— OleMissPix (@OleMissPix) September 29, 2014 2. Wed 9/24 at 4PM @OleMissFB practice hidden indoors so that team practice in helmets for safety reasons. pic.twitter.com/vA0Oo6Ps7S— OleMissPix (@OleMissPix) September... read more

    • Observations from the Best Seat in the House

      Sunday, September 28, 2014 - Athletics

      It's Sunday, so that means it's time for this week's Observations from the Best Seat in the House. I'll handle the bulk of the notes this week, but we also have some insight from Austin Miller here as well. Let's... read more

    • Upset Bid Falls Short Against No. 10 A&M

      Sunday, September 28, 2014 - Soccer

      Seeking its first win over a top-10 team since 2009, Ole Miss took a 1-0 lead but fell short to No. 10 Texas A&M, 2-1, Sunday afternoon. "I'm really happy with the team's performance," head coach Matt Mott said. "I'm... read more

    • Defense Honors Mullins with Dominant Effort

      Saturday, September 27, 2014 - Football

      Wearing the lighter blue helmets for the first time since 1994 to honor the late Chucky Mullins, the Ole Miss defense also honored his memory with perhaps the most dominant defensive performance of the Hugh Freeze Era. "Chucky would have... read more

    • VIDEO: Ole Miss-Memphis Motivational

      Saturday, September 27, 2014 - Football

      Ole Miss vs Memphis: Official Team Motivational from Ole Miss Rebels on Vimeo.... read more

    • Three and Out: Keys to Ole Miss-Memphis

      Saturday, September 27, 2014 - Football

      Three areas to watch as No. 10 Ole Miss faces Memphis Saturday. Battle of the Quarterbacks Ole Miss and Memphis have both gotten steady quarterback play, as both teams rank inside the top-15 nationally in scoring offense.  Senior quarterback Bo... read more

    • Rebels Rebound with Hard-Fought Draw

      Thursday, September 25, 2014 - Soccer

      Playing in their fourth overtime game of the season, the Ole Miss soccer team played Arkansas to a 1-1 double-overtime draw on Thursday night.  The teams combined for 30 shots, including 13 on goal, but the game was characterized more... read more

    • 3 Things About Gameday - Ole Miss vs. Memphis

      Thursday, September 25, 2014 - Football

      read more

    • Freeze Stresses Focus, Attention Ahead of Memphis

      Thursday, September 25, 2014 - Football

      Highlights from Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze's time on the SEC teleconference Wednesday, ahead of the Rebels' matchup with Memphis on Saturday (6:30 p.m. CT, Fox Sports Net). Freeze's time on the call begins at the 1:21:20 mark. For... read more

    • Memphis Not Fazed by Big Stage

      Wednesday, September 24, 2014 - Football

      Memphis is 2-1 heading into Saturday's matchup with wins over Austin Peay (63-0) and Middle Tennessee (36-17) and a 42-35 loss at No. 11 UCLA. The Tigers scored two early fourth-quarter touchdowns to tie the Bruins at 35-35 with 13:44... read more

    • Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review (Sept. 15-21)

      Monday, September 22, 2014 - Athletics

      Ole Miss Athletics Week in ReviewSept. 15-21, 2014Volleyball- Ole Miss went 4-0 to capture the Rebel Classic and improve to 14-0 on the season.- Through four weeks of the season, the Rebels have equaled last year's win total (14-17).- Sophomore... read more