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Video oddities also happen in high school

Chances are you won't find any high school football coaches pulling a Bill Belichick, the coach now as well-known for his New England team shooting video of an opponent's signals as he is for winning Super Bowls.

That doesn't necessarily mean high school football is completely without video hijinks.

A gentleman's agreement between coaches is set up so that they can trade video with opponents before each week's game. Nearly every coach agrees to this procedure because every coach needs video to prepare.

It's considered unethical to have your own person go to an opponent's game and video it, a practice most coaches around here wouldn't consider. But there have been tales over the years about teams getting someone, maybe a parent, to video the opposition secretly from the stands in order to scout for a future game.

Another issue that comes up is video quality. The images may be grainy, out of focus or skewed so that you can't see all 11 players on the field. Sometimes the jersey numbers don't match up to what teams will wear the next week. Coaches may even find some plays missing.

"Oh yeah, we've found plays missing," Brookwood head coach Mark Crews said. "Sometimes that's pretty common. You'll have a two- or three-play gap in the film. All of sudden the score's 14-7 and you didn't see the scoring play. Everybody always sort of claims they don't do that, but it happens."

It was even harder to swap video back in the old days, when teams shot their games on 16- or 8-millimeter film. Unlike now - when teams mass produce VHS tapes for opponents, coaches and players to use - there used to be only one copy of a football game. So if you traded film, you literally traded your only copy.

Teams that didn't want to trade those films could make it really tough on you. Then you'd have to find that team's opponents, and ask them for film. But they may have already traded their only copy of that game with another team. It was complicated, but modern advances in video have made it a breeze.

Coaches generally meet their next week's opponent early on Saturday and swap out video tapes of previous games, then they return them when they meet on the field for Friday's game. It almost always goes smoothly.

"Most of the time everybody knows if you're going to coach, you need video," Crews said. "Most of the time the only point of contention is we'll ask for the last four or five games and (the opposing coach) will say, 'Nah, let's just trade the last two.'"

That's only a minor problem. At least when you compare it with the NFL.

Will Hammock can be reached via e-mail at will.hammock@gwinnettdailypost.com. His column appears on Thursdays.