GPS and tracking isn’t just for your next vacation anymore.
West Virginia and head coach Dana Holgorsen is putting it to use on the football field as well in order to chart and monitor just how far and how long each player is going for a period of time. It’s monitored every time a player works out and practices, in order to gauge the effort for each player.
It’s also become a competition between the players which has only made it more beneficial. Weekly the numbers are posted in the weight room and players have turned it into a competition where they compare figures to their friends and teammates. Competition in any aspect is never a bad thing.
“You can really tell if a guy was dogging it that day or if he was going hard that day. Those numbers support what you see on video a lot,” Holgorsen said.
The device is fitted to the players with the tracking system in the back in a tight fitting shirt that Holgorsen said resembles something a little bit different altogether.
“They have a bra. It’s like a sports bra. It has a little thing in the back, it’s like a little key fob, it’s about that big,” Holgorsen joked.
The head man didn’t dive into how that information is used or applied, but did admit that when he was first approached with the idea two years ago it meant little to him. That has since changed.
There is still a lot to learn about the technology as well and Holgorsen said that for now he believes it is a valuble tool that will only continue to have more value as the program moves forward.
All fashion hurdles aside.
“It looks like a sports bra, especially on some of the linemen,” he said with a smile.
Former West Virginia wide receiver Kevin White was selected with the seventh overall pick in the 2015 draft but injuries over the past three seasons have limited him to only five games in that span.
The most recent came this past Sunday when White suffered a fractured shoulder blade and was placed on injured reserve. While he could be a candidate to return, the blow is just another setback to the development of the talented wide receiver since joining the NFL.
Holgorsen has remained in close contact with White, explaining that the two still “talk all the time”, and while he supports him and loves his former wide receiver he was almost at a loss of words to describe the series of unfortunate events that have hit him.
“He’s as positive as anybody I’ve ever coached and he’s optimistic. You can’t ask why in situations like that, you just have to do what you have to do to get back out there,” Holgorsen said.
White has 21 catches for 193 yards in his career with the Bears.
But regardless what happens, Holgorsen will have his back.
West Virginia initially recruited one-time quarterback prodigy David Sills because he was tall, athletic and was equipped with a great football mind. Once committed to Lane Kiffin and USC at the age of 13, Sills ended up signing with the Mountaineers to play quarterback.
That didn’t last long.
In order to get looks, players often jump around to different spots on the scout team and Sills would fill a role at wide receiver during his freshman year. He would quickly catch the eyes of defensive coordinator Tony Gibson and the excitement in his voice when he described Sills to Holgorsen was undeniable. While the head coach knew he was athletic, his hands were a surprise.
Sills was repping at wide receiver in short order and that’s when Holgorsen approached him.
"“If you commit to this, you could play for a long time. I really believed that.”"
However, Sills didn’t and left Morgantown to give it one last shot at playing quarterback at El Camino C.C. in California. That didn’t pan out and Sills was back in Morgantown this past January, now fully committed to playing wide receiver. So far so good, through two games he has 16 catches for 247 yards and five touchdowns, that last number is tied for first nationally.
And Holgorsen believes he is only going to get better.
West Virginia will play host to Delaware State for the first time in program history Saturday. The Mountaineers are 17-0 all-time against FCS programs, with Holgorsen being 6-0 during his seven years atop the West Virginia football program.
The Hornets have lost 13 consecutive games and are 1-23 under current head coach Kenny Carter. The odds are in the favor of the Mountaineers pushing that mark to 18-0 prior to conference play.