With all of the excitement of a freshman’s first day of college, the Washington Redskins are packing up all of their necessary belongings and moving to their new home-away-from-home at the Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center in Richmond, Va.
Few in the organization remain from the days when the team went to Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pa., and even fewer remember the team’s brief training camp stint at Frostburg State University. But it is certain that few will ever forget the inaugural trip to Richmond, which promises to provide an ideal site for football preparation.
In addition to all of the standard hoopla surrounding the state-of-the-art facility, here are the facts about the facility that you need to know (via Redskins PR):
–The building is comprised of 13,396 split-face sandstone bricks.
–250 tons of steel products were used in construction, including steel, joints, deck, stairs, etc.
–There are 92 player lockers in the locker room to accommodate the expanded camp rosters (plus two).
–215,000 square yards of sod was laid for two full-size natural grass fields and one natural grass drill field.
–220 lbs. of uniforms can be put through the locker room’s washing machines at one time.
That last bullet point was just to clear up any laundry confusion early in the process.
In addition to the brand-new amenities that will be on-site to facilitate a first-class training camp, the Redskins staff is moving all necessary equipment to Richmond for the duration of training camp. For Redskins.com, this includes my laptop, docking station, mini-fridge fully stocked with Coke Zero.
For the football side of things, the logistics around this move are far less trivial, as most of the football-related equipment was shipped down in a fleet of Eureka trucks on Wednesday afternoon. The tarps that normally cover and protect the practice fields at Redskins Park were loaded onto flatbed trucks and sent south. The players’ shoes, jerseys and pads were boxed separately and filled an 18-wheeler, along with the JUGS machines and drill equipment.
It was a flurry of hand-trucks and logistics going on downstairs as players like Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan grabbed one last workout with the training staff before their equipment was whisked away.
I caught up with the video staff, who was in the process of packing 95 percent of their day-to-day equipment to make the Road Trip to Richmond. After the coaching staff made the move to digital playbooks on iPads last season, the video staff plays a critical role in keeping the players updated with video resources and practice film.
“We’ll have about 120 iPads in Richmond,” explained hard-working video assistant Mike Adams. “Then we had to get another server and transfer all of the files we currently have to that so we could take that server down to Richmond…along with every coach’s computer, all of our personal computers, all of our work stations, and pretty much the entire office.”
Sounds simple enough.
Given the setup in the team hotel, the video staff will need to reinvent the wheel to a certain degree, setting up cameras in each of the conference rooms similar to the setup at Redskins Park. This will allow the coaches, particularly head coach Mike Shanahan, to be involved in the position meetings during the afternoon and evenings, before and after practice.
Their preparation for Richmond has taken months to orchestrate, and their total load amounts to about half a truckload. Fellow video assistant Zachary Kennedy explained that the crew will set up Thursday and Friday before a wedding takes over some of the hotel conference rooms over the weekend.
But once the wedding bells fade, it will be back to business for the Redskins video staff.
“We have to go down there and coordinate with the IT department to set up a server for our purposes,” Adams explained. “We’ll know exactly [how prepared we are] when we get there, really.”
The good news for the video department–and the football team as a whole–is that the system for making video available after practice has actually improved from a year ago. Instead of using a complicated process to convert video to iPad form, the video crew is ready to try a new process that will allow them to edit video on the ride back to the team hotel.
“It should be faster than the one we were using here last year, and about the same as it would be here,” Kennedy said. “The new system actually meshes with our video system, whereas the old one had to export from one system to another first. That wasn’t really designed for the system that we use, but this is a lot faster.
“Basically, as long as we’re sharing the folder out to the players and coaches, as soon as we drop in a video file, it will be instantly available on the iPads. In the past, players would come to you looking for a particular package, and we would have so many requests pushing out at once that the system would become bogged down and crash. Not only will this video be ready sooner, but it will also be in a format that allows coaches to make instant edits and send it back to the system.”
All of which improves the film study process, which in turn improves the overall preparation of the team.
This has been your periodic check-up with the Redskins video crew, and an in-depth look into one of the many departments preparing for the Redskins roadtrip of a lifetime. See you in Richmond!