Behind The Scenes
MIAMI BEACH, Fla. - While it may seem a bit far-fetched, Miami Beach has been transformed into Morgantown, W.Va., this week - at least when it comes to the video needs of the Mountaineer football program at the team's headquarters in the Fontainebleau Miami Beach.
That was the goal of Brett Kelley, now is in his fourth year as the video coordinator for the West Virginia football program.
“My goal is to make each conference room feel like our position rooms back at the Puskar Center,” said Kelley. “We try to make it as easy as possible for our coaches and players to access video as soon as we arrive. We need to make it as simple as walking into a room, making a few clicks and watching it.”
To be fair, the job of Kelley and his staff of four others began well before the Mountaineers’ eight-day trip to Miami.
“It really started as soon as we found out our bowl bid and opponent,” explained Kelley. “I immediately got in touch with the video coordinator at Clemson and we swapped games.”
Getting film of your opponents in order to dissect each and every play is not as tough as years past. In fact, the Big East Conference has a rule in place in which all games are shared, and each team has access to all games.
Bowl games are different, however.
“It’s at the coach’s discretion on how many games to give your opponent,” said Kelley. “And 9.9 times out of 10 you’re going to get an even trade.”
That film was quickly loaded into a server, built specifically for the bowl game, along with cuts of film dating back to the 2007 season.
“You never know when a coach is going to want something (from past years),” laughed Kelley. “And if I don’t have it, or can’t get it quickly, that’s not a good thing.”
With the bowl server ready, Kelley ran down his checklists and spreadsheets to finish loading an equipment truck that also carried projectors, projector screens, desktop editors and a countless supply of extension cords.
“It’s a lot of stuff and you always get that feeling that something was left behind,” said Kelley, a Morgantown native. “As soon as we get about 500 yards down Don Nehlen Drive for the airport, it’s like the point of no return.”
The team’s hotel is also well scouted and plans are made shortly after the bowl announcement. For Kelley’s video needs, he leans on veteran athletic trainer Dave Kerns for his set-up.
“He came back from his site visit and said ‘Here is what you have for office and meeting space. Will that work? Are we missing anything?’”
When the Mountaineers finally arrived on Dec. 29 and their buses pulled in to the hotel, Kelley and his crew went straight to the bowl offices to set up nine rooms.
“One of the biggest challenges is figuring out how to run our network cable to each room,” said Kelley. “We coordinate that with Doug Himes, our information technology guy. He will buy a spool of network cable for us to run in and out of each room.”
With the computers powered on, and projectors and screens in place, there’s a system-wide test to complete the extensive set-up process.
“We test it out with a good three-hour cut up on all the machines to make sure there are no glitches or freezing of the video playback,” stated Kelley. “It’s about a six-hour process to get everything powered up and running.”
And when 10:30 p.m. rolled around, Kelley and his staff were finished recreating the Puskar Center.
This year’s Discover Orange Bowl marks the fourth postseason trip for Kelley, who also traveled with WVU to games in Charlotte, Jacksonville and Orlando.
“Each hotel and practice site has been different for me,” said Kelley. “But once you get set up, you are pretty much good-to-go. You might make a few minor tweaks to a camera angle at practice or something like that, but I tell my guys that if we don’t always see a coach, it’s probably a good thing. It typically means everything is working.”
Also aiding Kelley in his bowl preparations were previous experiences with the NFL's Tennessee Titans, where he served as the video assistant.
“With the Titans, we had a similar set-up one year for training camp,” recalled Kelley, who also worked for the Nashville Kats Arena football team. “It was perfect as we just had to plug our computers into the wall and it worked. There was no running cable or any major hurdles.”
Kelley and his crew have been busy shooting practices, a vital evaluation piece for WVU’s coaching staff. Shooting high above the field at various viewing angles, the crew gets two shots of every play, then splices them together.
“Their film is an extension of the playbook,” said Kelley. “Some coaches will go back and watch the whole thing over again.
“We’ll repeat this process a few more days, and then go out and try to win another BCS game.”
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