The game of football is changing faster at the college level than anywhere else. That makes sense, since college is placed between high school – where all kinds of ideas get tested out by coaches – and the NFL, which has changed greatly, as well, but not at the rapid rate of the college game.
The trends in college football make the game fun to watch and follow even in the offseason. Here are some of the key trends in the game today.
Technology: It's everywhere these days, from the elite instant replay boards that help give coaches an idea of when to challenge a referee's call, to the sophisticated, smart computer teaching tools colleges can afford to use in the locker room to make rapid changes in gameplans. There are real-time simulators that help college quarterbacks dissect defenses during their down time.
A top tech advancement that can be used in practices is GSC's coach to player helmet communication systems. The practice systems help streamline playcalling and get more reps into a compressed timeframe. More reps build confidence when it counts on Saturday.
Scheme updates: The up-tempo, no-huddle offenses favored by programs such as Auburn, Clemson, Texas Tech, Baylor and Oregon don't come from the NFL. They come from high school and small college programs looking for an edge when they can't always get the best athletes. Those schemes have trickled upward into major college programs, and they've changed the way the game is played – in a good way. They've created more of a level playing field by allowing players – especially offensive linemen – who may not be as big and as fast to still execute at a high level.
Advancements in nutrition: The food revolution has hit college football. With the NCAA loosening standards on amount of food athletic departments can provide their athletes, schools have responded with million-dollar initiatives to improve nutrition and keep players well-fed. In addition to the standard training table, many colleges offer athletes snack bars for throughout the day; the bars are usually stocked with real food like fruit, yogurt and breads. Ohio State calls their bars “fuel zones.” Oklahoma uses a food truck. Nebraska has created a card that athletes can use at some nearby sandwich shops.
The push for player safety and health: Some of the brutal tragedies of CTE and consistent head trauma in pro football have led to positive changes at the collegiate level. There's now a clear emphasis on protecting players when they suffer a concussion instead of putting a player in more harm's way. Further, rehabilitation techniques for injuries have advanced to the point where it doesn't take nearly as long to come back from knee and ankle surgeries.
All of these trends in college football are what make this level so exciting to watch and follow. With such a diverse group of conferences, teams and coaches it's riveting to study the different techniques and see how they play out on game day.