Michigan football might add wearable technology – Detroit Free Press
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In its quest to stay on the cutting edge, the Michigan football team is on the verge of a deal for wearable display technology that, essentially, would allow players to get play calls uploaded onto their arms.
GoRout.com officials, including CEO Mike Rolih, were in Ann Arbor today, meeting with coaches for a second time. The coaches sampled the product and saw specifics of how it could be used. Rolih said U-M is going through a trial period and no official agreement has been reached. One could be coming in the summer.
A Michigan official declined to comment on the visit or a possible deal.
“The players put (the technology) on their forearm or their belt, and the coaches load up their practice scripts,” Rolih said. “When they’re going out to run scout team or they’re doing an install period and teaching, instead of having a bunch of guys running around holding up those big scout cards at practice, trying to get guys organized and aligned, now they have this digital display, and someone’s controlling practice with a mobile device. They just hit a button and, instantly, everybody on that side of the ball gets that play.”
The device looks like a cell phone on one’s forearm. It’s not a tool for games but would be used extensively in practice.
While there may be a learning curve, the method could cut down on time and allow changes to be made quickly.
Today’s meeting involved a number of U-M assistant coaches — defensive coordinator Don Brown, passing game coordinator Jedd Fisch and running backs coach Tyrone Wheatley among them. U-M coach Jim Harbaugh, who was in Washington, D.C., today, saw the technology during the first meeting.
Brown does his practice plans by hand, but those can be scanned and downloaded via GoRout.
“Whatever they’re accustomed to doing and their process is, they can use our system,” Rolih said.
Established in 2014 and based in Rochester, Minn., GoRout is in its second season of connecting with schools and NFL teams. Three teams in the SEC and ACC and teams in the American Athletic Conference already have deals for the system.
For high schools and a smaller package of 11-22 devices, the cost is $3,000-$4,500. Major colleges get more durable units, with costs at $12,500-$25,000, depending on how many are acquired.
“Every college football program in the country has certain bottlenecks when it comes to practice,” Rolih said. “When you’re Michigan and you’re getting ready to play Ohio State and they’re spreading you out and going to run some tempo, how do you replicate that effectively while still getting your reps in practice? With our system, you can. Instead of organizing, the guys don’t have to come back to the huddle; everybody’s got a display on.”
Rolih said Michigan’s coaches were impressed.
“Coach Brown said, for offensive scout stuff, this would be a huge help,” Rolih said. “They didn’t know they actually really needed this until they saw it solved very specific points for them.”