Sun Devils go digital with playbooks

TEMPE, Ariz. — The Arizona State football team will join a growing number of Division I programs when players receive iPad playbooks.

ASU coach Todd Graham said Wednesday morning the tablets are expected soon, and a majority of players will receive one for further review of plays and film away from the team’s football facilities.

“That’s going to be really neat for our guys,” Graham said. “Most football players are very visual. I give them a playbook, they won’t look at it. You put it on an iPad, they’ll look at it.”

Earlier this month, Stanford became the first college football team to issue iPad playbooks to its players. Other schools have followed suit, including Washington, Ohio State, Syracuse and Duke. A number of NFL teams have also adopted the digital playbooks.

An ASU athletic department spokesperson said the cost of the tablets is being covered by program donors. The retail cost of an iPad is listed as $499 on Apple’s web site.

“We think it’s something that’s a progression to stay on the cutting edge,” Graham said. “We constantly want these guys to see themselves as smart. We want them to see themselves as a disciplined team, and to do that we think it’s important that you study.”

Graham, in his first year at ASU, detailed a number of reasons the iPad playbook made sense for his team. Along with the visual learning style, Graham believes the iPads will allow players to learn together more on their own time.

“The best way they learn is from each other,” Graham said. “If we get two of them sitting on an iPad showing each other, that’s how they learn.”

Having the iPads at home, Graham said, also reduces the time burden in players who would otherwise have to go to the football facilities to review practice or game film. Instead, coaches can send it to players.

Letting players review film at home might seem like an opportunity for them to skip out on doing so, but Graham made it clear the iPads come with expectations.

“There should be no excuse for not studying and knowing what you’re doing,” Graham said.

There are also academic benefits for the players, Graham noted, as they can receive assignments, access course home pages and take notes during class.