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Andover High School quarterback Mike Pierce watches film from the Warriors' Thanksgiving game using software from XOS Technology, which is also used at schools such as Florida State and Notre Dame. The high school received the software through Assistant Coach Joe Marinaro, who works for the company.

ANDOVER | In the interest of fairness, here's a quick bit of advice to Andover High football opponents this fall. When exchanging game tapes make sure you hand over a VHS tape to Andover head coach Ken Maglio, not a digital one.

The state-of-the-art video technology that former Andover great and current assistant coach Joe Marinaro has put in the hands of the likes of Bobby Bowden at Florida State and Charlie Weis at Notre Dame can now also be found in the new AHS video center next to Andover's Eugene V. Lovely Field. That's a very scary development for offensive and defensive coordinators across the MVC.

"We're able to break down the entire field and come up with a much better game plan," noted Andover quarterback Mike Pierce, an Eagle-Tribune All-Star last fall.

A starter for the past two seasons, Pierce encountered far fewer Friday night surprises last year in the Warriors' initial fall utilizing the cutting edge software from XOS Technology. Andover now can turn even the most innocuous digital game tape into as lethal a football weapon as the prototype 6-foot-2 tailback with 4.5 speed.

"Right away you are able to tell what type of run defense they like to use and the exact percentages of how many times they use it," Pierce added. "Throughout the whole season it helped us a lot."

It's endorsements like those and many more that make the sales pitch these days a relatively easy one for the 34-year-old Marinaro, who is in his eighth year as a sales executive with the Florida-based company, which has its Northeast headquarters in Billerica.

An All-American lineman for the Golden Warriors (Class of '91) and a four-year standout offensive guard at Michigan, Marinaro has an intimate knowledge of just what kind of an edge his service can provide.

"It's far better than what we had (at Michigan)," he quickly points out. "Back when I was there all we had was VHS tapes and there was only so much you could do."

Now, with the advent of digital technology, players and coaches are able to slice and dice tapes every conceivable way and with the touch of a key stroke access the exact data they're looking for.

"For the typical football play, from start to finish, there is probably 20 to 30 fields of data that can be tracked," said Marinaro, who had his pro football ambitions cut short thanks to a major knee injury the spring before his senior season in Ann Arbor.

"The ability for me, as a lineman, to watch just specifically the type of stunts a team was using instead of the whole tape would have been very helpful."

It's points like those that Marinaro continually bangs home while servicing the dream territory for any sales executive/college football fan. Marinaro is on a first-name basis with every video coordinator, and a good deal of the head coaches, from the Big 10, the Southeastern Conference and the Atlantic Coast Conference as well as the top independent powers like Notre Dame.

He said all but two of the programs in that football fertile area use XOS, which costs anywhere from $250,000 all the way to a $1 million to install depending on the number of computer stations and amount of film each institution wants analyzed.

"Football is definitely our bread and butter," said Marinaro, who figures that XOS has around a 80-percent market share in college football while also servicing 28 of the 32 NFL franchises as well.

"In other sports, like baseball, it's very competitive, but we're making inroads there, too."

Along the way, Marinaro is getting to meet many of the football giants.

"I absolutely love my job," said Marinaro, who works alongside another Andover football great from the Class of 1991, Brett Hammond, who's also a sales executive at XOS.

"Every day you never know what you are going to get. Some days the system will be having a bad day and you will feel the wrath of the head coach," Marinaro said, before quickly adding that those days are quickly erased by visits like he had at Florida State recently where he spent better than three hours going over the software, and football in general, with the colorful Bowden.

"Getting to work like that with guys like him is really the fun part. There's a great balance in this job between technology and sports."

With college football season right around the corner, the summer months are the busiest ones for Marinaro, who can be found in such fall hot spots as South Bend, Ind., and Columbus, Ohio, on sultry days throughout July and August. With a growing family which includes his wife, Anne, and their two children, Taya, 4, and Anthony, 2, he lists the extensive travel as the only drawback.

Luckily, however, the frequent flyer miles draw to a close right about the time double sessions are starting. Just in time for Marinaro to break down how may times coach Peter Flynn's Billerica Indians sent trip receivers wide on both sides last year and the frequency of each pattern the six receivers ran.

"We haven't really fully tapped the high school market, but I think this system is even more valuable at that level just because you only have a certain amount of time to work with the kids and you really want to show them some specific things," said Marinaro.

There are other benefits.

"All of these kids are into technology now and they have the ability to maker their own highlight reels which they enjoy," he said.

And when you've got the added advantage of seeing a defensive scheme isolated and played back ad nauseam before you see it for real, chances are those highlights are going to come quite often.





The Marinaro File

Age: 34

Hometown: Andover

Residence: Windham, N.H.

Family: Wife, Anne (Murnane), a former Andover High soccer star who is now coach of the Central Catholic girls team; children, Taya, 4, Anthony 2

Profession: Sales executives for XOS Technologies selling sports video software to the ACC, Big 10, SEC as well as major independents.

Football career: Former Eagle-Tribune MVP as an All-American lineman at Andover; 1995 Eagle-Tribune Sportsman of the Year, three-year starter at the University of Michigan.

Coaching career: An assistant since 1999 at Andover, where he recently integrated XOS Technology.





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