Digital devices roam the sidelines of high school football games more than ever before

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MADISON COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) - When David O'Connor played football, he improved as an athlete by watching film.

"When I was playing in high school and even when I first started coaching a little bit, it was still the old reel cameras," he said. "You could hear the thing playing."

Now in his twenty-sixth year as a coach, the game has completely changed. Technology has long been used for teams to record games and then review the action the following week at practice, but now it is being used during games on the sidelines.

Buckhorn High School utilizes end zone cameras, press box cameras and sideline cameras.

"We pipe that right in from the laptop straight into our big screen on the sideline. When the players come off the field, the defensive coaches will sit there with them and go over it," O'Connor said. "They can see what happened. They can see what they did and there's no question."

The National Federation of State High School Associations first approved game-deployed gizmos in 2013. The change meant devices like smart phones, iPads, TVs and printers can now be used during games to help players and coaches make adjustments.

"You'll be surprised when you talk to kids before they see the video, every one of them will have seen something different," O'Connor said.

This technology blitz is not called during just game action, though. Companies, like Hudl, steamline practice by storing video online for coaches and players to access. With limited film sessions, they can instead review footage and study opponents away from the gridiron.

"Every kid at home, when they get home, they can eat and do their homework," he said. "Then they can go over and watch Hudl. They can watch practice from the day before or that day, then they can go back and they can watch who they're going to play that week and then prepare themselves that way. It's ridiculous how much they can now prepare."

O'Connor added that the advancement of this digital learning has created more evolved students of the game.

"Their football IQ is just so much further advanced than it was ten years ago."

To learn more about Hudl, click here.