As stated in last week’s blog, this was my third year presenting at Fred Stengel’s Martin Luther King Day OLine Clinic. I look forward to the annual pilgrimage for a number of reasons. First and foremost, I love reconnecting with the coaches in my home state whom I just do not see often enough. Next, I truly enjoy any opportunity to share those things that have made our program successful. I have been very fortunate to learn from some great coaches and only hope that I can play a small part in the success of another coach’s career or team. Lastly, I am always looking to learn and stay current in our profession.
The trip from St Johnsbury VT to Bergen NJ to attend was made easier thanks to some very entertaining football games on Sunday. I caught the first quarter of the first game in Vermont and the last quarter of the last game in NJ and was entertained by radio on the 320 miles in between. Tom McCarthy was the play-by-play guy for Westwood One’s presentation of the Steelers/Jaguars game. Interestingly, Tom was the radio guy who covered our games when I was the OC at Trenton State College. He has come a long way and is very deserving. His broadcast was tremendous.
The clinic the next day was just as good. It opened with Tim Allen, University of Pittsburgh, sharing their Shovel Pass and Jet Sweep. He shared some creative ways they are doing both. While many of us are running Shovel to a running back or H Back, they are also running it to an attached Tight End. On their Jet Sweep, they are running it as an influence. While running Jet Sweep to the right, only the right Tackle is blocking for Jet Sweep. All other OLs are going to the left.
After my presentation on our Slide Protection, AJ Blazek, Rutgers University, shared his year-round development play for their offensive linemen. He breaks the off-season up into 4 quarters that each have clear objectives for developing his OLs both physically and mentally.
Between speakers, Geoff Collins, Head Coach at Temple University, gave an unscheduled, brief but moving talk on his relationship with a former player. Bill Tierney played on the great Bergen Catholic teams in the early 90s before going to Fordham where he had Coach Collins as a position coach. In Bill’s junior season, he collapsed on the field during pre-game and never recovered. I recruited and coached several of Bill’s teammates at Trenton State College/The College of New Jersey and remember their struggles in dealing with his loss.
The last speaker before the lunch break was Temple’s OLine Coach, Chris Wiesehan who gave a detailed presentation on coordinating the OLine and Running back in Mid Zone Stretch along with all of the blocking scenarios upfront on that play.
As much as I would have loved to stay for Princeton University’s Andrew Aurich’s talk on Gap Schemes and the Wing-T influence in the Pin & Pull Sweep Play, I took advantage of the lunch break to get on the road for a long trip back to Vermont. But I did leave with some great ideas that I will incorporate in our program during Spring Ball. I look forward to returning to the Garden State in February for the Atlantic City Glazier Clinic then again on March 25 at the Hun School for my 17th Annual OLine Clinic, and I hope to see many of my old friends again.
Coach Rich Alercio is available to discuss team building, coaching philosophy, X’s & O’s, or teach his O-Line “techniques in the trenches.” Contact Coach at firstname.lastname@example.org and share http://www.olineskills.com with your colleagues and friends. Thanks for your time!