USA Football Conference Recap

At every conference or clinic, I have ever attended, a coach like Noel Mazzone is followed around by scores of coaches trying to get close to him in hopes of gleaning insights, opening doors, and potentially advancing their careers. Coach Mazzone’s reputation as an NCAA Division I offensive coordinator and quarterback specialist precedes him and always attracts attention.

At the USA Football National Conference, Coach Mazzone 2019-02-28 Rich at USA Fottballsat in on my presentation then introduced himself sharing how much he enjoyed it. What a thrill to think I may have contributed a bit to the perspective of a fellow coach who has succeeded with athletes as talented as NFL Quarterback (and likely future hall of famer) Phillip Rivers, and conference leaders across the Country. To make it even more exciting, he later frequently referenced my presentation during his session.  Maybe we will see our SPOs (Screen Pass Options) added to his NZone System at Arizona next fall!

The 2019 USA Football National Conference had an impressive lineup of speakers including NFL and college coaches, military leaders, and high school coaches addressing more than 1,000 people in attendance.   I was honored to be listed as a featured speaker on Day 2 of the conference and share our SPOs with coaches from all over the country. Since returning home, I have been contacted by coaches from Idaho to Maine, and Minnesota to Arkansas requesting more information.  I look forward to hearing how our SPOs impact their programs in the 2019 season and am privileged to carry on the legacy of sharing with others the way so many coaches have cared to help my staff and me.

Spring practices begin here next week as we’ll most certainly begin implementing concepts and lessons learned during my weekend in Orlando. We will be a better and safer program, from Varsity to our new Youth Flag Program, thanks to USA Football and their National Conference.

As February closes, I am off to the New England Nike Coach of the Year Clinic in Hartford, CT. for a 3pm presentation on Friday, March 1.  My topic is entitled “One Scheme, Multiple Plays.” Once again, I look forward to sharing, learning, and teaming with so many others who share the same passion for this game and the very best it brings to student-athletes, schools, and communities across the nation.

We’re only a month away from the 2019 OLine Clinic in New Jersey. Get your brochure here: 2019 OLINE CLINIC BROCHURE.

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 your time!

Shaping the Future of the Game

USA Football has established and continues to promote unmatched standards of safety, education, and support for coaches and players. 2019-02-21 USA Football logo

As USA Football continues to shape the future of the game, I am honored to be a small part of it.  Saturday, Feb 23, Day 2 of the USA Football National Conference in Orlando, will begin with my 9am presentation entitled “Adding  SPOs To Your Offense.”  RPOs (Run Pass Options) are based on putting a defensive player in a conflict or in other words, a decision dilemma.  Most often, the player put in conflict is the one most challenging to block in the running play called, thus creating a pass option off of the run. Therefore, if he plays to defend against the run we pass, or if he plays the pass, we run. We try to create a dilemma for the defender and an opportunity for our offense.

We have now brought that same thinking to our screen game with SPOs (Screen Pass Options).  2019-02-21 SPO DiagramWe identify the Sam LB (strongside inside linebacker) as the most difficult player to account for in our 2-count, 3-man screen plays, making him the player we target to put into conflict.  Instead of just calling a screen to one side, we offer the QB another pass read off of the conflict player, to the side opposite the screen.  We do this with dropback, bootleg and sprint out passing schemes.

As a high school football coach and athletic administrator, I appreciate all that USA Football does in establishing safety standards for players and educational opportunities for coaches.  The future of football is in good hands as USA Football continues to evolve and grow the sport.

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.

Don’t forget our clinics in New Jersey next month and Vermont in April. Get your brochure here: 2019 OLINE CLINIC BROCHURE.

Thanks for your time!

The Hand That Gives, Gathers

The same way I followed in the footsteps of my coaches, I now have former players who are coaching. Players extending the line of men contributing back to students, schools, and communities is a wonderful aspect of the game of football. The vast majority of coaches are in fact, former players so it’s not uncommon to see a former player pick up a clipboard and whistle, and return to the gridiron.  2019-02-14 Vreeland & Emery

However, it is rare to see a former player coaching another former player.  Greg Vreeland, who played Quarterback for me at Castleton State, stands holding the Maple Sap Bucket Trophy with Tom Emery, who captained our undefeated 2017 state championship team at St Johnsbury Academy. Tom is now a starting offensive lineman at Norwich University where Greg serves as an assistant coach.

Greg shared this photo with me on Facebook with a caption I shared with him and his teammates many times “The Hand That Gives, Gathers.”

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.

Don’t forget our clinics in New Jersey next month and Vermont in April. Get your brochure here: 2019 OLINE CLINIC BROCHURE.

Thanks for your time!

We Help Coaches Win!

The New England Glazier Clinic was all we hoped it would be and more. 

Following up on last week’s post anticipating the New England Glazier Clinic, here’s a recap of things we saw, learned, and shared.

On Friday (Feb 1st), I had the opportunity to sit in on a 4-2-5 defense presentation given by a long-time friend and colleague, Guy Bertola.  I was flattered when Guy acknowledged me to his audience as one of the best OLine coaches in the country.  I still consider coaching to be a privilege and while I appreciate the recognition that comes with our team’s success, I never lose sight of the fact that as coaches we need to earn our coaching privilege every day.

I looked forward to seeing some other presenters but was contacted by the clinic director to do an impromptu presentation on “Man-beaters” (How to beat Man on Man pass defense) in place of a coach who was stranded at a Chicago airport.  Of the eight sessions I presented over the weekend, I think this short notice effort is the one I enjoyed the most. Grabbing my laptop, gathering my thoughts, I searched for some cut-ups and starting drawing X&Os.  Our offense had a great deal of success this season isolating our top receivers in favorable 1-on-1 matchups so I had plenty to share.  That session also allowed me the opportunity to reconnect with Coach Frank Stamilio who was in the audience.  Frank runs the New England Nike Coach of the Year Clinic.  He invited me to attend his clinic this year as a “bullpen presenter” in the event they have a speaker cancellation and asked if I would be on the schedule at the 2020 Nike Clinic.

The other session I really enjoyed was the 2019-02-07 Glazier RecapChalk War with Pat Fox, Head Coach of Notre Dame Prep in Pontiac, Michigan.  We had such a spirited battle of wits that Pat suggested we continue it over dinner that night.  Pat’s willingness to share his Offensive Spacing Routes as well as how he defends Double Wing, Flex Bone, and Wing T is truly what is best about our profession.  He also shared a bit of philosophy in regard to staff, “hire good men and make them great coaches.”  I pointed to our assistant coach Ray Richard and told Pat, “that is exactly what we did with him!”  Though Ray may not have come to us with a broad coaching resume, he is a good man, a good friend, and has a hunger to both learn the game and help student-athletes grow into quality citizens.  The New England Glazier Clinic was a great weekend of learning for Ray and the hundreds of coaches in attendance.

I appreciate all the follow-up emails from the many coaches who attended my presentations offering positive feedback and requesting more information.  I am flattered by their comments and look forward to continued dialogue. Glazier’s slogan, “we help coaches win” is amplified by bringing coaches together from all over the country who share the same passion for doing whatever they can to help the great game of football and those who commit their lives to playing and coaching it.

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.

Don’t forget our clinics in New Jersey next month and Vermont in April. Get your brochure here: 2019 OLINE CLINIC BROCHURE.

Thanks for your time!

New England Glazier Coaches’ Clinic

Glazier Clinic’s Motto is “We help coaches win!” and I’m privileged to have been invited to speak on seven different topics at this weekend’s 2019-01-31 rich speaking at glazier neNew England Glazier Clinic in Groton CT where I hope to do my part to “help coaches win.” Ray Richard, St Johnsbury Academy assistant coach and I will make the drive over to the clinic and immerse ourselves in learning, rekindling old friendships and making new ones. Glazier Clinics always have a great line up of speakers and I am honored to both be on that list as well as have another opportunity to share what we do with other coaches from our region.

Friday will allow Ray and I to attend multiple presentations by top high school, college and NFL coaches.  My first commitment is a “Chalk War” Saturday morning followed by a Panel Session.  Pat Fox, Head Coach Notre Dame Prep, MI and I will battle wits on the grease board with a moderator providing game situations.  I will then join Chad Neal, Head Coach Killingly High School, CT in a panel session titled 30-Rapid Fire Program Development Ideas.

Later Saturday I’ll be giving back-to-back-to-back presentations.  The first is “One Scheme, Multiple Plays for Any Offense,” is an evolution of the presentation I gave at the 2018 USA Football National Conference.  Next, is “A Better Way to Run RPOs (Run Pass Options),” and  my day concludes with “Adding SPOs to your RPOs (Screen Pass Options to your Run Pass Options).”

On Sunday morning in session 1, I will be sharing our “4th & Go! No Punt Team Offense,” then “Go For Two with the Swinging Gate” and “Running Swinging Gate Anywhere on the Field” in the final session of the Clinic.

I am thrilled to have these seven opportunities to share ideas, schemes, and philosophies with coaches just as coaches have done for me for over 30 years. As at most clinics, there will also be great sidebar conversations over a spectrum of topics from X’s & O’s, to philosophy, culture, leadership, and helping student-athletes realize their potential on and off the field.

Lastly, I will look forward to the drive home and the opportunity for Ray to share what he learned at the sessions he attended.  Then it is time to strap in with family and friends for Super Bowl LIII.

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 your time!

Paying It Forward

Leadership is about setting a personal example (on and off the field!)

2019-01-28 gatorade player articleSt Johnsbury Academy quarterback, Jake Cady, was a star on the football field and is a star in the community.  After his record-setting senior season which saw him pass for 3,350 yards 2019-01-28 cady 2and 36 touchdowns and run for 645 yards and 15 touchdowns, he was named as Vermont’s Gatorade Player of the Year.  That award comes with a $1,000 prize to be donated to a non-profit.  Jake chose to donate his prize money to the St Johnsbury Recreation Department for the creation of a youth flag football program that will be open to players in grades three and four.

While participation numbers in tackle football are declining nationwide, the number of children ages six to 12 playing flag football has increased by 38 percent over the past three years.  St Johnsbury Youth Flag Football will follow USA Football’s development model of instilling solid fundamentals, developing better players, providing multiple entry points and game options, and create developmentally appropriate skill instruction.  By teaching the game in a fun and engaging way, we can more effectively meet players’ developmental needs based on their individual stages of growth and development.

I’ve written a number of blog posts commenting on team culture and the importance of leadership on and off the field. Of the willingness to sacrifice and importance of putting the team ahead of oneself. If we build the culture we aspire to and create the true sense of team we’ve worked and hoped for, we produce student-athletes who exemplify the character traits necessary for success on and off the field. There’s no doubt this young man brings extraordinary talent to any team he chooses to contribute to and our players, staff, and school are proud of all he’s accomplished. It’s been a privilege to see him grow as a player, student, and leader.

2019-01-28 cady 1Jake benefited from participating in youth athletics and the impact those programs, teammates, and coaches had on his life.  Now he is investing in the next generation.  Maybe one of these kids will become the next scholarship quarterback and Gatorade Player of the Year.

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 your time!

OLine Clinic Follow Up

If people think you are crazy for driving 6 hours to attend a 1 day clinic, they think you are even crazier when you leave in the middle of a winter storm dumping two feet of snow….

The only downside was missing the championship games on TV but thanks to satellite radio, we were able to listen to every play.  The plus side was being able to drive 3 hours on Interstate 91 without seeing another car!

The clinic began with Coach Fred Stengel introducing me and promoting my OLine Clinic at the Hun School on March 24.  Fred is a true “OLine Guy” and loves to attend my clinics.  Although he has coached with great success for decades at the highest level of high school football, he continues to seek opportunities to learn.  He also referenced the number of times he has called me to discuss a protection scheme or how to block a certain play.  I love to discuss X&Os and am honored when true Pros like Coach Stengel choose to call and pick my brain.  The greatest thing about our profession, 2nd only to the impact we have on so many young lives, is the universal willingness to share our knowledge with each other.

I chose to share the emphasis we place on Feet, 2019-01-24 oline clinic photoEyes,  and Hands in Run Blocking with our Heel-Toe philosophy, Visual Targets, and Strike Points. I was lucky to have our defensive coordinator volunteer for the long drive and to stand in as my demonstration assistant.  Apparently, the audience got quite a kick out of how physical I got with him in demonstrating the strike points, but he and I both share an appreciation for enthusiasm!

The impressive list of speakers continued with Nunzio Campanile from Rutgers stepping in at the last minute and excelling while discussing 5-man pass protection.  Bob Surace, Princeton, followed with game planning against top D-Lines and shared some great ideas on how to pass protect or run read vs the DL you just can’t block 1-on-1.

I then took advantage of the lunch break to meet up with my son who attends college at FDU-Florham Park in NJ but unfortunately did not get back in time to see Villanova’s Sean Devine speak on Game planning to attack the 3-3 Stack, but my DC did a great job in sharing the information on the long drive home.  I will follow up with Sean to see if he is willing to share the information.

Brian Gabriel, Monmouth University, also discussed point pass protection & blocking overload blitzes. Again, each of these coaches willingly shared their time and talent with the same community that so generously invested in them. Such a philosophy of giving makes me proud to be part of the coaching fraternity

The last thing I asked John Lovett, our DC, and my travel companion, as we pulled on to campus was “was it worth it? (Drive…time…snow?)”  His answer was an emphatic “yes!”  It was for me as well.  The clinic was a great opportunity to learn and share information, a chance to see so many coaching friends that I do not see often enough, to spend some time with my son, and to share some quality windshield time in 1-on-1 conversation with a loyal assistant coach and a very good friend.

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 your time!