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The Rocky Mountain College football team uses uses two cameras at every practice.


BILLINGS — Football coaches are known to spin little hyperbole when trying to make a point.

The players know it and will zone out on occasion.

But one thing gets an athlete to sit up and take notice, or sink down in their chair, depending on the situation:

Video never lies.

“The film will find you if you’re making a mistake,” said Rocky Mountain College football coach Jason Petrino working into a knowing smile.

“And if you’re making plays, the film will find you too.”

Gone are film projectors, stacks of VHS tapes and VCRs. Even CDs and DVDs are becoming obsolete in the world of athletics.

Everything a coach and player needs to know and wants to watch is just an app away on their phones.

The Battlin’ Bears film every drill at every practice. After each practice, coaches go back and grade players accordingly on a numerical system, with a base of 0-1-2.

“One is doing your job, two is going above what is expected,” explained Petrino. “And you can be given a minus one, depending on the effort and the play.”

On Thursday afternoon, defensive coordinator and special teams coach Jared Petrino was at his desk, chartering every play from the previous practice.

Rocky watches film every other day, according to defensive end Ryder Rice. The players watch together by position and by groups, defense and offense.

“I think it’s the best learning tool,” said Rice. “You can see what you do wrong. Coaches will talk about things like where you’re placing your hands, your footwork. Now you can see it and understand why it needs to be corrected.”

“The light bulb goes on, you can see it,” said Jason Petrino of showing video.

Along with being informative, the video sessions also offer some amusement.

“It’s embarrassing a little bit,” Rice said of when a bad play is screened. “Especially when you know you’re coming up to a play where you get your butt kicked. You don’t want to see yourself on that play. Coaches, when the video is showing, get pretty serious, telling you how you screwed up.

“When it goes on and on, guys laugh at you. But when another play comes on, you get a chance to laugh at other people. Guys get nicknames from a certain play happening again and again.”

Rocky always uses two cameras during practices. One, used for the overview, is perched atop the visitors press box at Herb Klindt Field. The second, used for tight shots, is atop a long pole and held during different drills and behind the line of scrimmage when the offense goes up against the defense.

The cameras also reveal more than just good and bad plays.

“You see who has the work ethic,” said Rice. “You see who is standing when they’re away from the ball. You always want to sprint to the ball.”

After the videos are downloaded, “Right to your computer,” said the head coach, and charted, they are made available to the players. “They’re always available to us,” Rice added.

And coaches also use the videos as a learning tool.

“We might go back and study things,” said Petrino. “Like if we’re having a problem with missed tackles, we might look at it to see what we need to change. Or pass routes. We’ll see something that is not working well in practice and maybe change a few things.”

Whether it’s on their computers or on their phones, one thing is for certain: The coaches will be watching.

“Tons of it,” Petrino estimated how much video he watches during a week. “I’m afraid to ball park it. But it’s a lot.”

NOTES: Rocky's spring game is scheduled for Saturday at 1 p.m. at Herb Klindt Field. It is open to the public. 

Email Joe Kusek at or follow him on Twitter at @GazSportsJoe