On a beautiful Wednesday afternoon at the John Rich Practice Facility, a pair of Vanderbilt quarterbacks worked out in the name of science. Jordan Rodgers and Jared Funk each threw a handful of deep passes in front of a number of strategically placed video cameras and the watchful eye of students and professors.
Professors Charlie Brau (above, middle with Rodgers and Coach Johnson) and Kalman Varga are both big football fans, and began discussing the physics of a spiral pass. Their theory is that a long spiral thrown by a right-handed QB is slightly angled to the right (when viewed from above), causing the football to both tip downward and fade slightly to the right. Using video cameras, the students will analyze throws by the quarterbacks to see if the hunch is correct.
A group of local high school students from the Vanderbilt School of Science and Math helped perform the experiments, with students from Brau and Vargas' classes will evaluate the data over the next week. Rudy Kalis from WSMV Channel 4 had a nice piece on the project yesterday, and the Vanderbilt News Service will produce a package including results in the next few weeks.