Practice ended right at 5:45 p.m. for the College Station Cougars on Monday evening. Following a quick conditioning period and a post-practice chat with head coach Steve Huff, the Cougars raced inside to shower and change clothes before watching that day’s practice film at 6:10 p.m.
Between the end of College Station’s practice and the Cougars’ film session, quick work had to be done to ensure video was available for Huff and his team to view in preparation for this Friday’s game against Caney Creek.
Three students on the film crew — seniors Chase Sand-Perry and Bolden Scott and junior Colby Ash — are in charge of the quick turnaround that allows the Cougars to watch practice less than 30 minutes after it’s over.
“I would put the value of what they do as high as everybody else in the program,” Huff said. “Our kids do our video as good as anybody anywhere.”
Almost every second of football, from practice to games, is on video for the Cougars. The video crew records practice after school three days per week, the athletics period on Tuesdays and all subvarsity and varsity games.
“We as coaches watch a lot of video of the opponent and we show our kids a good amount of that, but a lot of our video during the week is watching ourselves,” said College Station offensive line coach Kyle Walsh, who also oversees the student film crew. “Being able to fix mistakes or to watch on video that, ‘Hey, that plan wasn’t a good plan,’ and see it and realize that before we go out on Friday night is huge.”
Long hours, and sometimes late nights, are required to accomplish everything on the job. Sand-Perry said uploading video takes about an hour after a varsity game on Friday nights.
“What they do, it’s so time consuming,” Huff said, “and there’s a lot of nights after a ballgame that we’ll be leaving or ready to go as coaches and those guys will just be getting done themselves.”
Not only are there long hours but short transitions. School ends at 3:50 p.m. and all of the film equipment is usually set up by 4 p.m., just before the team begins stretching.
“It’s pretty quick,” Ash said.
Coaches work with the film crew to plan which parts of practice need to be filmed. Once practice and games begin, concentration is key.
“You’ve got to stay focused and make sure you don’t miss plays and make sure you start the camera on time,” Sand-Perry said.
While Walsh coordinates the film crew, he said they don’t need much direction.
“Those guys that are experienced and have been around it for a while, they’ve done a great job of just taking charge of it and running it themselves,” Walsh said.
Both Sand-Perry and Ash used to play football but decided to stop playing.
Sand-Perry played football through his sophomore year and was asked if he wanted to film during the following spring. The next season as a junior, Sand-Perry knew the film crew was only going to have two guys, and they asked him if he wanted to return. Sand-Perry said yes and never left.
“I was hesitant at first, but I decided to do it,” Sand-Perry said. “When I was doing the 2019 season, I decided, ‘This is pretty interesting. I’m going to stick with it.’ Now I’m a senior ... I’ve kind of taken up the leadership role.”
Coming into his freshman year, Ash asked Walsh if he could help the team in any way and was offered a position on the film crew. Ash said he hopes to attend Oklahoma State and join the football film crew there.
“It’s just another way to be a part of the team, and I like it,” Ash said. “You still put the same sacrifice as most of the players put in. You practice every day. You film it. You film them. You have to keep your grades up to keep filming, so it’s basically being a player, but you’re filming.”
All of the hard work does come with reward. The film crew gets class credit for being in athletics and can letter after working two seasons. Sand-Perry said he enjoys knowing the players can prepare quickly for the next game watching the video he took. Ash added that they would get state championship rings if the Cougars were able to win their second state crown.
College Station’s film crew will be positioned in their usual perches around Cougar Field this Friday as the Cougars host Caney Creek on Homecoming.
The Cougars have won four straight games in district play, and Huff said he wants to continue seeing if his team is getting better and hitting their stride at the right time.
“I thought last week that we improved in certain phases of the game and we’re making some progress. I liked our pace the other night.” Huff said. “This week, I would say keep cutting down on the mistakes. Keep the ball off the ground and get the ball moving offensively. Defensively, it’s continuing to run. When we run, we play well.”
Although the Panthers (0-7, 0-5) are winless this season, Huff noted how Caney Creek is a veteran team under first-year coach Kendall Hineman. Huff added that by watching film, the Panthers’ aggression up front on defense has stood out.
“It’s going to be one of those games where we’ve got to go out and execute and do things right because we’re going to get everybody’s best shot, and I appreciate that,” Huff said. “That’s one thing, hopefully you’re doing things right to get everybody’s best shot, so at the same, we’ve got to come out and do our part of that.”
Be the first to know
Get local news delivered to your inbox!