Watching game film or video always has been a crucial part of football planning, but beginning tonight, thanks to a National Federation of State High School Associations rule, coaching staffs can use in-game video and photographs.
The rule still prohibits any video or still photography of the opposing sideline. The benefits of the rule, some coaches believe, will be minimal at first.
"Using in-game video makes a big difference in the colleges and pros because they can get every angle possible and get it to you quickly," Dalton coach Matt Land said. "At the high school level I think it's a little over-sensationalized, but saying that, we're going to do what we think will help us.
"The worst thing you can do is to implement something that becomes a distraction. We certainly aren't going to turn a blind eye to technology, but we'll use the first couple of weeks to see how it can help."
Ridgeland coach Mark Mariakis agrees.
"We want to look at what we can do with it, but we don't want to waste more time than what it's worth," he said. "To me, I think it will help mostly with alignments and blocking schemes, where a few inches can be a big deal. It's impossible to see from the sideline that a tackle might be lining up an inch or two either way, but a [still] shot from high can give you a good look."
The high school federation was reluctant to implement the rule until now because of the cost involved, but with electronic communication devices more affordable, the national committee decided to adopt the rule.
Halftime of tonight's game against Marion County will be a bit more emotional for Grundy County coach Nick Bryant and his family. The Coalmont school is starting a Hall of Fame this year, and the first inductee will be Jerry Bryant, Nick's father.
"It's an amazing experience and I'm sure it will be very special night for us," Coach Bryant said. "Dad is our hero, for me and my brother and our family have always looked up to him. We've heard stories about him and some of the things he accomplished from all over the area. I'm just really proud to get to be a part of it."
Jerry Bryant, a 1978 GCHS graduate, holds almost every school record for rushing and scoring. He's best known for two games as a senior when he scored seven touchdowns and six two-point conversions against Sequatchie County, then later scored seven TDs and eight two-pointers for 50 points against Ooltewah.
He was named the Chattanooga News-Free Press's Tri-State Player of the Year as a senior and then played for three years at Austin Peay.