Wait, the Dallas Cowboys have installed ballet bars at the football facility?

I've heard of offensive line coaches having players take yoga classes to help with flexibility concerns, but the Dallas Cowboys installing ballet bars in their football facility is a new one for me to wrap my head around, but according to the Dallas Morning News, there's some very good reasons for the addition.

Last year the Cowboys nearly led the league in injuries, so this off season they looked at changing some of their training program to address those injury concerns. Instead of wholesale changes, the staff decided to add a few stretching adjustments and some additional workout equipment this fall. That equipment included the installation of ballet bars.

Last season, 12 different players on the roster suffered some type of injury to the thigh or hamstring, so in order to address that the team installed ballet bars just outside of the locker room. That's just one of the rather interesting changes around the facility that head coach Jason Garrett and the staff have made to make sure players have the equipment needed to for a healthier 2014 season.

“We’ve put a big emphasis on addressing, as an organization, some of the injuries that we’ve had. Just an emphasis on stretching, giving our players the opportunity, whether it’s with ballet bars or V-sits or back systems, whatever things we use, we try to help them get into routines that can help them be flexible and avoid some of the injuries we’ve had." Garrett told the media last week.  "It’s always been an emphasis for us. We have to look at ourselves and what we’re doing to help our players stay as healthy as possible.”

Garrett also noted that they'll be moving from a static stretch routine, to a more dynamic warm-up.

“Typically, we’ve done kind of the old team stretch, and we’re experimenting with dynamic warm-up stuff that I’ve done in my past, other coaches have done in the past. You try to be innovative, you try to evolve, you get feedback from the players, you get feedback from the coaches."

Teams have been doing dynamic warm-ups for a decade plus now, so that's not exactly what I think of when I hear Garrett say "innovative", but the ballet bars are certainly an interesting, and innovative, addition.

In my opinion, offensive and defensive lineman using those ballet bars to stretch out before smashing faces in practice might be the most polar opposite situation in all of sports. But if it works, we'll all look at the Cowboys as the trendsetter.

The winningest D-II program in NCAA history has a hype video with all the fixin's

Grand Valley State, who boasts the winningest program in Division II football history (73% winning percentage), has had an outstanding seven months or so.

Back in December they made a run to the national semifinals of the Division II playoff, capping off a nice 12-2 season, and then in April they released a nice graphic that we highlighted that proves that sometimes the simplest of things send the most powerful message.

Well their coaches and video guys have been putting in some solid hours from the looks of it, because they've also released a hype video that, quite literally, has it all.

This one has a nice balance of offense, defense, and special teams highlights, as well as a healthy dose of uniforms combinations, and if you pay close enough attention, you'll see the type of depth that they have to work with in Allendale, as various running backs and receivers flash on the screen making highlight worthy plays.

The expectations have been high every year at GVSU, dating back to when Brian Kelly was in town as the head coach winning back to back national titles in 2002 and 2003, but the excitement in the air for head coach Matt Mitchell and his staff going into this year is certainly comparable to those glory days of not so long ago.

Allow me to introduce you to the unsung hero on your staff...your video coordinator

I've had the pleasure of owning FootballScoop for over six years now. During that time, I've personally met thousands of coaches, personnel and operations staff members. I've visited with nearly 50 staffs at their offices and observed their operations. Almost all of my visits focus on spending time with the coaching staff; but I almost always get the customary tour of the facilities and get to meet most of the operations, personnel and recruiting staff...always see the weight room, locker and equipment rooms even usually meet administrative personnel; but looking back, I almost never wind up meeting (or typically even seeing) the video coordinator. 

I'll tell you what I do see, I see the head coach watching video...I sit in the offensive staff room and watch the OC control the remote...oh and the DC is far more animated working his remote back and forth, back and forth, yelling...I sit in on position meetings and it's more of the same, video everywhere...walk down the hall and the recruiting guys have 3 screens going, all video...find the GA room and more video.  See where I'm going with this?

Yeah, I'm not real sure why it is; but the video coordinator doesn't get his due. The pace at which video technology has evolved in the last 30 years, 15 years, 5 years (less than 300 high schools used Hudl 5 years ago) is incredible and many would argue is increasing. Things that took 4 hours 5 years ago can now be done is 15 minutes...if you have the right technology and the right people overseeing the operation. Enter the unsung hero, the video coordinator. 

Today's video coordinator is a professional. He (or she) has been trained or he has trained himself and he's good at what he does. Coaches want to watch practice as soon as they get into their offices...done. Want to watch the game film on the flight home from an away game...yeah, we got that. Need 20 desktops, 15 laptops and 140 iPads all able to stream different cuts of video at the same time...yeah we can handle that too. Think about that guys. 

So, who are these mystery folks who just make everything work? Well, I had the pleasure of spending a few days in Houston at the Collegiate Sports Video Association with 160 video coordinators, assistants and others aspiring to further their careers in this profession recently and I came away with a new level of respect for this group. Stepping back, it wasn't that I didn't respect these guys before, I simply didn't know them. I literally had probably only met 5-10 video coordinators in my life. What I learned in Houston is that these are a bunch of hard working people who generally love what they do and enjoy being part of a team. They take pride in their work, are willing to put in the time to learn more and are people who get things done. 

Coaches, like pilots or doctors or accountants, etc...need technology to work to be efficient. They don't typically spend their time thinking about just how hard it is to make the 100s of various pieces of hardware and software talk to each other in the most efficient manner possible; they just want their devices to work they way they should. Well folks, here's a reality check, it just isn't that easy, and yet 99 times out of 100 you call up your video player and it works as it should. 

Coaches, do yourself a favor and walk down to your video coordinator's office today and thank them for their contribution to the program; because truly, that is all they want. Not one of them said it to me; but I heard it in the way they spoke, video coordinators as a group want, and deserve, your understanding that what they do takes skill and makes you far more efficient in your daily routine and your recognition that they are an integral part of the staff. 

I'll have more on what I learned at the 2014 CSVA Conference later this week. Stay tuned...

BYU's 2014 hype video will get you ready for the season right now

BYU's 2014 season begins 13 weeks from yesterday with a Friday night kickoff at Connecticut. After watching this 2014 hype video, Cougars fans (and everyone else) will be ready for it to begin right this very nanosecond.

This one is good. 

Ever argue over the fastest coach on your staff? This staff did, so they held a race

There are two traits nearly every single college football coach shares. They're all ex-athletes, and they're all hyper-competitive. Those traits combine in many wonderful ways, but sometimes they can run counterintuitive against each other.

They are what get coaches arguing about who has a faster 40 time, and they are what drive them to go on the practice field and prove it.

Four Sacramento State coaches - linebackers coach Tyler Almond, wide receivers coach Jason Pollak, offensive coordinator Paul Peterson, and tight ends/special teams coach Fred Kelley - recently settled their debate mano v. mano v. mano v. mano.

I'm not going to give away the result, but let's just say there are no NFL scouts kicking themselves today for overlooking a prospect on the Sacramento State coaching staff. 

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