Football is big on preparation. There is always film to be watched. Game plans to be made. And you can't make a quality game plan unless you prepare.
Proper prep is not as easy during the pandemic. Teams aren't practicing. There was no preseason to speak of. No scrimmages to watch. There's no reason to show up at 4 a.m. or sleep in your office if you don't have any footage to pour over, so coaches need alternate info. We saw earlier this season with the Buffalo Bills turning to social media.
"“One of the things that we’re doing is each pro scout is assigned certain teams and one of his jobs is to follow all the Twitter media and all the articles and just try to get as much intel of who is doing well and who’s not,” said Beane. “Who is having good days, who’s not and also any players that they have not seen live--whether it’s an undrafted rookie or someone that has never played in an NFL game--they’re also going to check with our college scout who was covering that area."
Beat reporters who live-tweet training camp must have been thrilled to hear someone finally cared about how many snaps the third stringer took on a random Wednesday in August. While the NFL now has some game footage to view, college teams are still scrambling for information.
Take Texas, for instance. They're probably playing Baylor this weekend. Baylor has had three games postponed so far and had 42 positive COVID cases just over a week ago. Tom Herman has everyone in the building checking message boards. Via the Austin American-Statesman:
"We’ve got graduate assistants and secretaries and student assistants scouring the Baylor media sites, especially their message boards and fan boards; if they’re anything like ours, if a guy sprains an ankle in practice, the sky is falling. So you’ve got to disseminate what’s real and what’s not real. We’re trying to figure out who we’re going to play, who the players are going to be. … Right now, our assumption is that Baylor will be here. How many players they’ll have active for that game, I’m not quite sure."
It's like coaches are back in the dark ages. Well, not really, but you know what I mean. Imagine trying to game plan for an early season game back in the 80's or 90's. A couple VHS tapes and some newspaper clippings if you're lucky.