News of the San Gabriel Valley since 1966.

The Peterson Principle

By Tim Peterson

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With all of the discussion going on about hacking into HUDL accounts last week, I made a statement in my column. I said it was a whole lot of noise about a minor issue.
My point was that everybody had access. Coaches send me highlights on HUDL all the time and with those links I could access several other games. I realized that it wasn’t the same access as the coaching staffs had but it still begged the question. Wasn’t watching film and scouting an opponent just as beneficial as having inside information on ones’ HUDL account. And I was skewered.
On our website I was advised (politely of course) that I had no idea what HUDL was. I was told that having access to an opponent’s HUDL would give that team a tremendous advantage. It was like stealing! It was criminal! They would know tendencies, play calls, positions, etc. They would be inside of that team’s huddle. I was called an idiot!
Torosian said I biffed it! So did Villathedevil but that one I just kicked away like a Jonathan Quick save.
So I decided to do what I always do when I have a football question. I went straight to the source. I went to the coaches. I asked just one question “If another coach hacked into your HUDL account the week of the game how much of an effect would it have on the outcome of the game?” And the answer was yes. It would have a big effect…or would it?  Actually, to my surprise, the results were mixed.
“If you have your playbook, audibles, signs, adjustments, etc. it would have a huge impact. Playbooks aren’t that big of a deal because the kids would have to know the call but the other stuff would be significant,” said one area coach. “Knowing your breakdown of their tendencies helps them self-scout. For example if you have info that tells you that over five games they are 92 % run on first and ten coming out of the green zone (between the goal line and the 30) you can bet the house I will be throwing more on first and ten and may go play action and try to hit you deep. It’s cheating and it is a big deal.”
Another local coach agreed. “It would affect it big time. We break everything down from players, to plays to field position, to “tips and pointers.” It shows your own tendencies as well as practices and how you will line up to certain formations. It also shows corrections and what other team is trying to improve on. You still have to play the game but there’s a reason you can’t see the other players board in the game Battleship”
Ok so I missed it bad. Or so I thought. Then I got these responses.
“They wouldn’t be able to tell what I plan on doing to them. They would be able to see our plays and terminology but they wouldn’t be able to use it to their advantage. Really if you break someone down yourself by scouting it’s much better.
And this… “The kids still have to play the game and it’s a chess match between coaches and coordinators every week.
And finally this from a guy that was adamant that it was useless.
“You think I give a (crap!). I will give opposing coaches my HUDL account and let them watch as much film as they can! I don’t worry about that (crap!). Bottom line…the kids play and you have to block, tackle, and not turn the ball over. If you do that you’ll be fine.”

There you have it. It would clearly be an advantage…or not.

That’s my principle.

Tim can be reached at or on Twitter @tspeterson 40.

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News of the San Gabriel Valley since 1966.
The Peterson Principle