The future of quarterback coaching does not involve footballs, pads, lifting weights, or even stepping on the field.
As Paul Myerberg of USA Today details, Arizona-based Axon Sports may have developed the next must-have tool in coaching. Observed at this summer's Elite 11 camp in Oregon, campers encountered Axon technology that overlays an existing playbook against different combinations of alignments and coverages. The program asks quarterbacks to make a decision and, like a video game, gets more difficult as you progress through the system.
It's rapid-fire decision making, an entire meal blended down into one bite. Former Ohio State quarterback and Axon director of system operations says players can get 100 reps in seven to eight minutes.
And, like a video game, Elite 11 quarterbacks began using their iPads to battle for dinnertime Axon duels to see who could achieve the highest score.
The technology originated in Australia for Axon's initial purpose of becoming a concussion-management company, but pivoted over the past three years to its Axon's Cognitive Skill Training Systems. The system was beta tested by the likes of Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III, and first adopted by - who else? - Chip Kelly at Oregon. Kelly has since taken Axon with him to Philadelphia, but Mark Helfrich has expanded its use in Eugene. Oregon utilizes the technology for its entire team, with frequency and emphasis varying from position to position, and the Ducks say it has helped quarterback Marcus Mariota tremendously.
"It's a great tool for college athletes," Mariota said. "It provides an opportunity to kind of get live reps without going through practice. It's all visual stuff, and the game's like 80% mental anyway. So if you can get more mental reps, it will help prepare you for the season."
"I think that's a great tool for us," echoed offensive coordinator Scott Frost. "You know, our offense requires a tremendous amount not just to know but to know it quickly. Putting that kind of pressure on guys off the field as well as on the field really helps us."
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