Prior to becoming head coach, Joseph Cox served as Defensive Coordinator for five years. Coach Cox spoke to us about the ways effective in-game communication helps his team. Long considered one of the top programs in Westchester County, DFHS fought its way to the New York State Class C Championship game in 2018, and the NYPHSAA Section 1 Championship in 2017.
Can you describe how your staff communicates during games?
We are a small staff of five varsity coaches, and a very collaborative unit. That collaboration carries over into games, where we keep an open line for the most part and everybody contributes. We also have the flexibility to switch into Offensive Chat or Defensive Chat during the game. This way, when the head coach needs quiet to send in a play or communicate with the quarterback, the defensive coaches can talk separately and plan their adjustments.
If we were a larger staff with more advanced technologies like Hudl on the sideline with realtime video, we would use a communications system with more private conversations between each unit.
How does the communication between on-field coaches and press box coaches affect the kinds of adjustments you make during the game?
I like to have my coordinators down on the sideline where they have a better feel for the game and they can interact with the players directly. But it’s important to be able to communicate with a spotter up in the booth. He will have a clearer picture of what’s happening on the far side of the field, since he doesn’t have to look through the fog of players, and he can think without the emotion and distractions of the sideline. On a small staff, a coach might be repairing a player’s equipment while he’s also trying to figure out what’s going to work on the next series.
Communicating in real time allows us to take advantage of matchups or personnel situations that the coach on the sideline can’t really see from his vantage point.
Before you switched to the Vokkero C2C systems, did you have any problems with in-game communication?
We had one system where we had a lot of interference during games. There was a box with a lot of buttons to control who was talking to who as a kind of home base. We moved that box to a bunch of different places, but the problems didn’t go away?
What kinds of problems?
The sound was choppy, or sometimes it was garbled. When you’re calling a play and you ask your spotter for an immediate answer to a question, you can’t afford a breakdown. When that happens, you just remove the headset so you can think without the noise.
Did those problems continue when you switched to Vokkero?
No. Look, the number one thing you need during the game is high quality, consistent, reliable communication. The Vokkero headsets are head and shoulders above other systems we’ve used.