NORMAN — As he sat at dinner after a game on Sept. 22, the Sooners' loss to Kansas State slowly sunk into David King.
What had gone wrong? Why had Oklahoma's defense given up 223 rushing yards while Kansas State's defense had only given up 92?
Being the captain of the defense, it bugged King. So he pulled out his phone, clicked on an application and started watching the game – trying to break down the film right at the dinner table.
The days of whirring films reels and grainy VHS highlights are long gone. The days of burning highlights to a DVD are even over. Now, programs like Oklahoma add a technological competitive edge to their team by using Hudl.
Hudl is an internet-based application that allows the Oklahoma video team to upload video of a game, practice or an upcoming opponent. After entering a password, players or coaches can access and watch the video on a phone, tablet or computer.
Engineers at Hudl did not respond to a request for an interview, but the program's website described it as a tool that helps “coaches and athletes prepare smarter and faster by connecting teams around the information they need to win.”
Brian Martin, the video coordinator for Oklahoma football, said the application communicates with an editing system the team has and recognizes cut-ups of film that can be older or from a recent practice.
But what does this save a team?
Martin said the application was “costly” but it can save teams from handing out playbooks as big as dictionaries and close to 100 DVDs burned daily for players.
“It's saved some trees,” Martin said laughing. “It was a waste of DVDs. We would burn them but not all got used — not all the players took the time to sit down and pop them in. Some don't even have DVD players anymore.
“Now, with Hudl, they can access it anywhere with the password and coaches can check who's clicked and who hasn't. So if they watch it great. If not, they'll hear it from the coaches.”
Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops raved about the changes it's made for coaches, too. After the final game of the season at TCU, Stoops spent the next week traveling, where he spent flights watching video.
“It's changed everything,” Stoop said. “I had four or five games on each side of the ball loaded into my iPad. I had a three-and-a-half hour flight to San Francisco, and I studied them the whole way.
“I went through two and three games and really analyzed it. You have a pen with you and you make all your points in your notes and you can do your work anywhere. It's really changed.”
The application, Martin said, was developed by a couple graduates from the University of Nebraska and is used at the high school level as well.
Hudl even helps OU from the recruiting aspect. Instead of looking through stacks of DVDs, if a potential recruit's film is uploaded to Hudl, Stoops or assistant coaches can search for the kid and pull up their highlight film.
Oklahoma isn't the only big-time program using Hudl. Nebraska, Oregon and Kansas State also use the application.
This same playbook and game film study is happening at the professional level. An application called PlayerLync — used by the Denver Broncos, Green Bay Packers, Chicago Bears, Cincinnati Bengals and San Diego Chargers — is used in the NFL by five teams, according to a recent report from ESPN. It's cut out the printing of 500-page playbooks and “revolutionized the way they push out film and significantly altered the way they communicate.”
"It changes the way you prepare," Broncos tight end Jacob Tamme told ESPN. "You can come off the practice field, get in the cold tub and watch film in the cold tub on your iPad."
For Stoops, it's used as soon as he comes off the field.
“As soon as I get on the bus after the game, I'm already watching the tape and what went right, what went wrong,” Stoops said. “I've already gone through it by the time we land.
“It just allows you a lot quicker access.”