Hurricanes football has brought science to the football field – and the players are having fun with it, not to mention revealing some strengths and weaknesses.
More than two dozen players are wearing Catapult GPS devices that track their heart rates, speed, distance traveled and overall performance during practice.
Each player wears a lightweight device, fastened to a harness and lying between their shoulder blades, that monitors the information and records how they’ve done. Sometimes that can be very motivating.
Take 6-2, 235-pound Gus “the Bus” Edwards, a mighty powerful bus at that.
“I’ve seen a large change in Gus’ work ethic,’’ quarterback Brad Kaaya said Tuesday. “He’s working a lot harder. We have these tracking devices under our pads which kind of calculate how hard we’re working in practice, and everyday Gus has the highest workload registered.
“He’s working his tail off.’’
“The feedback I’ve been getting is that one day, a couple of the first practices, I got up to 20 miles per hour,’’ Edwards confirmed Tuesday after practice. “My workload, they think I’m getting a good workload in.’’
How cool is that?
“When you get your numbers in, it may tell you how you’re doing and it makes you want to go harder and have a better day. …They tell you about your workload, too. Like during walkthroughs, coaches will say, ‘I think you should slow it down a little bit. You’re going too fast.’
“And telling you [during] team periods, ‘Try to go as hard as you can.’’’
Edwards conceded that receiver Rashawn Scott was once monitored at moving 21 miles an hour. “So far, that’s the highest I’ve heard. Hopefully I’ll get higher than that during [Thursday’s] scrimmage. I’ve really got a chance.’’
Edwards said his 20-mile-an-hour result came on a play when he “broke out.’’
“For Scott,’’ he said, “I think he ran a fade route. So guys are just trying to get high on that. They kind of come to you after practice and tell you, ‘Artie [Burns] got 19, I got 20. So guys are just competing.’’
UM coach Al Golden on Tuesday called the Catapult “really, really interesting technology.’’ Golden noted that UM is using 25 to 28 units “on guys just to learn how we’re practicing and their output and what we need to do better and how we want to devise our practices.
“It’s like anything else, right? So my kids, they listen to the woman on the car tell you where to drive and I try to explain to them that we used to have to stop and got to a gas station and stuff. You didn’t know how you lived without it. So this is the same kind of deal. It’s an amazing system in terms of just best practices and how to improve.’’
***The coach said safety Deon Bush was sick but “hopefully’’ will be back for the scrimmage. Raphael Kirby also was sick Saturday.
***Thursday’s scrimmage at Greentree Field will be closed to the media and public. It will be a controlled scrimmage “so we can teach off it and get it on film and then carry it into preseason camp,’’ Golden said.
Backup quarterback Malik Rosier is expected to compete in the scrimmage and then travel with the baseball team the same day to Louisville for a weekend series.
***The offensive linemen got into an intense scuffle with some defenders, including defensive end Al-Quadin Muhammad, during Tuesday’s practice. It took quite a few seconds to separate the bunch.
“I don’t like when it gets personal and I don’t like when it gets cheap,’’ Golden said. “If it’s natural and it’s heated and it’s not orchestrated, again, I have no idea what happened over there. I’ll talk to the staff when we go in. We’ve got to do a better job with our penalties. Obviously, I don’t want to reinforce just everybody hauling off and doing something stupid every time they’re upset. I’ve got to get the context from my coaches and then I’ll address it from there.
“But we have to be more disciplined. There’s no way around that.’’
SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN