The most innovative coaches are learning ways to incorporate analytics into their game plan to gain a competitive edge against their opponents. Coaches who have implemented analytics have not only found success on the field but off the field as well.
Take Coach Chandler Tygard for example. The 35-year-old was recently hired as the Head Coach at Blackman High School in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, one of the top public high schools in the state. Coach Tygard credits the adoption of analytics and utilizing tools such as EdjVarsity with helping him land the job.
“Honestly, I couldn’t have done it without you guys (EdjVarsity). My analytical philosophy and ability to think differently is exactly what got me this job. They interviewed 14 candidates and there were over 100 applicants and… our administration really, really wanted it and believes in what we are doing.” Tygard said.
Thinking differently was something Tygard did as a player. He says he was “never an unbelievable football player” and always looked for what could give him an edge. Tygard began his career as a Grad Assistant for the University of Tennessee football program under Lane Kiffin and Derek Dooley before moving on to the University of the Cumberlands and Missouri Southern State coaching position groups. Since then, he has served as the DC at Notre Dame (TN), OC at Ravenwood (TN) and OC at Madison Academy (AL) before taking over as HC at North Jackson HS (AL).
“…I’ve noticed in coaching; we all came up in the same trees and everybody thinks the same. We coach the same way we were taught, they coached the same way they were taught, so it trickles down to where everybody thinks the exact same.”
From this perspective, Coach Tygard felt adopting analytics could give him an advantage over programs that hadn’t taken the leap and it would allow him the ability to make more calculated decisions. This would buck the conventional trends that most coaching mentors would have passed down. Using analytics to influence decisions would seemingly go against a coach’s muscle memory. But according to Coach Tygard, it all boils down to common sense.
“When I present this (football analytics), the first thing I say is that I’m not a math person, I’m a commonsense person. If someone could bring something to me that could win more games by doing this, I’m all about it and want to listen. I don’t take every idea when someone presents that kind of stuff, but when you hear ‘you are going to win more games if you just do this stuff’, that’s common sense to me.”
Coach Tygard has embraced analytics and the EdjVarsity platform. He knows it’s a new way of thinking but has been able to get buy in from his coaches and players. Using EdjVarsity’s interactive software, he is able demonstrate the impact of critical plays and coaching decisions throughout the course of a game on an app. This allows him to quickly and effectively identify the most impactful plays of every game in the context of win probability – whether it’s a penalty, turnover or key 3rd down conversion early in the game. EdjVarsity has the ability to help programs easily identify those moments.
But the best part of utilizing the EdjVarsity app for Coach Tygard comes from the play calling aspect. EdjVarsity is not a tool designed to tell you what to do, but it helps coaches look at their options and provides win-probability context to play-call decisions.
“The best part for me is that I know on 1st down where we are going to go for it on 4th down. So, we even changed the way we coach the quarterbacks. On 3rd and 10 he’s not necessarily trying to get 10-yards which is what I taught in the past. We are okay with taking check downs because we know that we are going to go for it on 4th and 4 or less (based on the EdjVarsity analysis).”
Using analytics has helped Coach Tygard develop a better understanding of situational football. However, it doesn’t take away the art of coaching. Coaches will always rely on instincts and observations in any given matchup. Using the customized analytics of EdjVarsity, which takes in to account the relative strengths and weaknesses of each opponent, Coach Tygard has the advantage of making more calculated decisions.
“Just because we cross the 50 that doesn’t mean we are going for it. Because in that position if you have a punter who can pin it inside the 5-yard line maybe that’s more advantageous (then going for it). So we take so many more things into account as opposed to saying we are only going to do this, or we are never going to do this.”
Coach Tygard takes this mindset with him in his first-year leading the Blackman High School football program.
Best of luck this season Coach Tygard and Blackman Football! Watch the full video interview with Coach Tygard here: