Colorado had a unique way to collect data about its players during the 2013 season. Though it may not be unique much longer. The Buffs could be trendsetters.
Colorado coach Mike MacIntyre said his team conducted weekly in-season blood tests of CU players. It was a chance to see how their bodies were handling stress and recovering during the week. And that doesn't mean simply from practice and football-related activities either. It encompassed school activities, as well.
"I thought our worst start of a game, worst game last year was Arizona State," he said, referring to a 54-13 loss on Oct. 12 in Tempe, Arizona. The Buffs trailed 47-6 at halftime.
"That was mid-term exam week, they all had papers, and all our blood work showed that they dipped dramatically in their lactic acid. That taught me a lot about that week to have to really cut back and really understand that, and for the kids to know they need extra sleep.
"I used to think it was just a mental game, but it really does drain you."
Of course, you're probably making a joke about Colorado's record last year. But these types of tests are independent of the talent level of a team. However, it stands to reason that more teams will mimic the habits of a successful team rather than an unsuccessful one.
That's why the sports-science angles of former Oregon and current Philadelphia Eagles coach Chip Kelly are getting increased attention from other football coaches. Kelly has customized practices to players' movements and has them wear tracking devices.
Just look at Ohio State coach Urban Meyer, who spent some time with Kelly in the offseason. When asked what he learned from Kelly, it had nothing to do with zone-read principles or offensive mismatches. Instead, Meyer talked about hydration.
Maybe in a few years he'll be talking about tailoring practices based off his players' blood work.
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