Can, Can’t… Will, Won’t

Tomorrow (May 19th), we’ll hold a team meeting in the campus chapel to kick off the planning and set expectations for the summer training. As we’ve discussed through the evolution of this blog, I believe our culture is an essential and foundational component of both our team and our success.

Hilltopper culture establishes a set of common practices, approaches, and behaviors guiding the team on and off the field. With more than three decades of coaching experience, I’m confident getting the culture right is more important than any offense, defense, or special teams philosophy we may want to employ.

The Team comes first. Individually, we all must commit to putting the interests of the team ahead of our own, and we reinforce those concepts in many ways. Tomorrow, we’ll reinforce elements of attitude and aptitude. I’ll project a 2×2 matrix with “Can & Can’t” on one axis, and “Will & Won’t” on the other.

These axes set up four quadrants and provide visual cues to attitude and aptitude. Coaches work with student-athletes and each needs to know where they fall on this graphic. Obviously, we want teammates and staff in the “Can & Will” quadrant, and not in the “Can’t & Won’t.” The “Can’t but Will” quadrant is ripe for teaching and coaching. The “Can but Won’t” quadrant often requires more assessment and a conscious decision to motivate or in some circumstances recommend an alternative team…

The operative question is to pose the four quadrants and ask each teammate and staff member, “Where are you today?” While considering “where they are…” most will also recognize “where they should be.”

Coach Rich Alercio is available to discuss coaching philosophy, X’s & O’s, or teach his O-Line “techniques in the trenches.” Contact Coach at and share with your colleagues and friends. Thanks for supporting this blog and joining our conversations, and as always, thanks for your time! 

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