Practice No. 10 is in the books after a day in full pads. Talk a little bit about the use of video at a Spring Practice and the evaluation of that video after a practice.
Digital video has become a huge part of the evaluation process and a primary method of teaching student-athletes in today's college football world. We typically have a minimum of two and sometimes up to three or four cameras shooting parts of practice at one time. It gives the coaches and players some very detailed, accurate feedback. The camera doesn't lie and of course you can rewind it time and time again. It is basically ready for us to view just a few minutes after practice concludes. We can add pieces of data to each clip and later sort it various ways. This allows us to study results on paper as well as on the actual video. Today's student-athletes have grown up utilizing technology and learn well when technology is integrated properly. The digital system we have allows each coach to select certain pieces of practice ahead of time to review in their position meeting so no time is wasted. We use PowerPoint and other software programs quite a bit as well. We also stress the importance of film study to the players in hopes they will learn to do it on their own in the summertime, the offseason and during the season itself. It's different than watching a game as a fan. They have to learn to watch the video as a student, focusing on a handful of indicators that might give them a slight edge to win a starting position or winning in a game of inches on a Saturday afternoon.
How is the progress at the running back position this spring and where is Ball State relative to depth and injuries at that position?
I could not be happier with the group of guys we have in the backfield. They are a hard working bunch in competition with each other, but always puts the team first. They support each other and encourage each other. When we arrived last winter, this was supposed to be the deepest position on the team. That changed quickly because of injuries and other issues. Fortunately, Barrington Scott and Dwayne Donigan stepped up and made meaningful contributions last spring. They seized the opportunity when it was presented. Then, of course, Jahwan Edwards rolled in from North Carolina last summer. He made an immediate impact. It turned out to be a solid year for the backs and we only had one fumble lost in 12 games. Now, we have Horactio Banks and Toney Williams also factoring into the mix. Horactio has grown up quite a bit this year. The redshirting benefitted him a tremendous amount both on and off the field. He has had a very good spring and gives us a legitimate speedster back there. Toney Williams is a big back with some physical tools. He is still learning the system and trying to get comfortable. Barrington Scott's rehab is coming along nicely. He has a great work ethic. I am sure he will be ready to go by the time pre season rolls around. Coach Justin Lustig does a nice job keeping them focused and preparing them to be excellent pass blockers and receivers as well as ball carriers. Special teams is another area where these guys can make a meaningful contribution to our success.
You invited former Ball State head coach Dwight Wallace to attend practice today and speak to the team afterwards. What was your motive?
It's always a good time for a history lesson. We have great kids in the program and I want them to develop an appreciation for the growth and development of both the football program and the University. Sometimes you learn to appreciate what you have a lot more if you know about the way it was in the past. Coach Wallace spoke to the guys in a very humble, down to earth way. He gave a lot of credit to his former players and other coaches. He spoke about great leaders like Ken Kramer, who embraced weight training and made himself an NFL caliber player. He spoke about legendary Coach Dave McClain and how he built the program in the 1970's. Dwight is still part of the family here just as are all the other previous coaches. He has an interesting perspective as a former head coach, assistant coach and athletic director at Ball State. He was here during the transition to Division I as well as during the MAC Championship season of 1978. Paul Schudel and Bill Lynch have both been back to speak to the team in the last year and I was remiss in not having Coach Wallace back sooner. He was able to sit in on position meetings today and closely observe the entire practice session. He really seemed to enjoy it. Dwight is still working as an account manager and is doing some game day radio at West Virginia University. He will miss our spring game on the 21st because WVU's is on the same day. I was pleased we were able to spend some quality time with him in the Fisher Complex today.