At its first spring practice on Wednesday, the Fighting Irish coaching staff introduced the "HelmetCam," a tiny camera that attaches to a player's helmet — Notre Dame used it opposite potential starting quarterback Dayne Crist's throwing arm — and records his every glance and decision. Much like a brain, the HelmetCam does not have the stability to survive recurring hard hits to the head, so it probably won't find its way into the school's NBC contract for game days, but it will provide the coaching staff with special insight into where their quarterbacks look on a given play. It's a great idea for QB training and play development so far in advance of the regular season — and it should add new pressure to the four players vying to start behind center for the Irish.
Head coach Brian Kelly has good reason to geek out over it. "If he's staring down a particular receiver, you're going to see that," Kelly told reporters. "If he's moving his eyes through his progression, you're going to see that." The camera Notre Dame uses isn't built to record sound, so the coaches will not be subjected to their golden boys' muttered curses — or to the ripping sound of high winds on the practice field — but it should provide some great insight into a young quarterback's mind. The part that doesn't terrify concussion experts, at least.
The HelmetCam, which found its gimmicky start in game broadcasts for the World League and later the XFL, was first picked up by Colorado a few seasons ago, and Oregon has tried it out as well. Michael Vick demoed one with sound at a Pro Ball practice in January, but it hasn't yet caught on at college programs across the country. Expect to see it at more spring training practices, as it could prove especially helpful for young quarterbacks — and Notre Dame always does lead the way in programming.
Photo by Marcus Marter for the South Bend Tribune.
Notre Dame football notebook: HelmetCam debuts at Irish spring practice [South Bend Tribune]