There’s a secret around the South Carolina football team. Sometimes the veterans tell the freshmen about it. Sometimes they let them find out on their own.
“I knew that from freshmen year, but I don’t think a lot of these younger guys knew and they realized really quick,” senior offensive lineman Blake Camper said.
What the youngsters learned is that every Gamecocks football coach has access to a report that tells them how much each player is using his iPad to watch film outside of the team’s time. South Carolina, like most programs, issues all of its players an iPad with the team’s playbook and video cutups of practice and game film on it. They are expected to use them for that purpose.
“I always ask the question. ‘How much time do you spend on ball when you’re not required to?’ ” head coach Will Muschamp said. “The really good players I have been around, they spent a lot of time on it. When you are able to look at the iPad report and see that a player is spending time at night away from us that means a lot. Playing the game mentally can help you as much as playing the game physically and in order to be able to be a really good player, you have to be able to do that.”
Some of the Gamecocks assistant coaches monitor their players outside iPad use more than others.
“I probably could, but I don’t have to worry about these guys,” quarterbacks coach Dan Werner said. “In my mind, if I have to check on guys, I’ve recruited the wrong guy.”
Offensive line coach Eric Wolford, who has more than 20 players in his meeting room compared to Werner’s eight, looks at the report often.
“Every couple days I get a sheet that I ask for and see who’s on their iPad and who’s not,” Wolford said. “If you have a bunch of missed assignments and I don’t see you being logged in on the iPad when you’re outside the building… Every night you would be expected to watch your install, watch one-on-one pass rush, whatever the case may be, things we don’t get covered on film necessarily.”
Starting quarterback Jake Bentley says he’s “not really a big iPad guy.” Bentley prefers to stay at the team’s facility late and watch film in the quarterbacks’ room.
“I have it and I’ll use it sometimes, but I like to be up here and be in the quarterback room and really just kind of close the door and be by myself and dive into that way,” he said. “The iPad’s got different buttons, you never know.”
Bentley also has a nagging fear that he’s going to lose his iPad, which requires immediate reporting to video operations manager Joe Lisle because it has the team’s entire playbook on an app.
“It’s kind of nerve wracking at times because if you lose your iPad, you’re like, ‘Oh crap, I just lost the playbook,’” Bentley said. “It would be very hard for somebody to get into it, but definitely if you lost it, you have to report it right away. Joe Lisle ain’t going to be too happy.”