The Score Takes Care of Itself

Alercio OLine Clinic Brochure

Legendary coach Bill Walsh had a saying, a philosophy, “the score takes care of itself”.  As you have read in earlier blogs, we embrace a philosophy that “games are not won on weekends in the Fall”.  Those players and coaches who attend Alercio OLine Clinics months before they will ever play a game truly embrace these philosophies.

I am always impressed with the hundreds of players and scores of coaches who travel far and wide to brave the weather on a field rimmed with mounds of snow as we usually host our clinics in March.  The forecast for this year’s New Jersey  Clinic at the Hun School of Princeton is 78 and Sunny.  A far cry from what we are accustomed to.  

As Spring shakes off winter’s cold renewing the Mid-Atlantic, and we all shake off a year of isolation, I look forward to returning to my home state, coaching my clinic for the 20th year, seeing so many coaching friends, reconnecting with former players and teammates and to working with the young men who so selflessly give of themselves for the betterment of their teams by honing their OLine Skills.  Click the Brochure and register today!

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! 

Today & Tomorrow

In her song “Greatest Love of All,” Whitney Houston sang “I believe the children are our future. Teach them well and let them lead the way.” 

Alercio OLine Clinic Brochure

That is particularly true when it comes to high school football.  Unlike college football where you can go out and recruit the players for size, speed, skill, or position, in high school, coaches develop the student athletes resident in one’s community.  The children in community youth programs are the future of your high school program.  To borrow a phrase, “Teach them well and they will lead the way.”

At the Alercio OLine Clinics, we provide college level instruction to high school players; but every year we have several schools that bring their 7th and 8th grade players.  Coincidentally, those teams who involve their youth players always turn out to be the top ranked teams in their state.  

Not only do those young players benefit from learning proper techniques and schemes of offensive line play, but they do so alongside their heroes, the upperclassmen on the varsity team they want to emulate and hope to someday be.  All under the watchful eyes of their future high school coaches.  

As leaders, teachers, mentors, and coaches, we set expectations, develop cultures, and a belief in something bigger than any one of us. I encourage coaches to invest in their program’s future by sharing our brochure with local youth coaches, players, and parents.  Let these young athletes train alongside the varsity and JV players and reinforce to them how important they are to the future of your program. In much the same way we build confidence, commitment, and optimism about the Fall of ’21, including youth program participants today, plants seeds of optimism for many Falls to come.  

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! 

MLK O-Line Clinic Re-Cap

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.

2018-01-18 Bergen Clinic

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 and share with your colleagues and friends. Thanks for your time!

The Score Takes Care of Itself…

Santa left a great read for me under the tree this year, Bill Walsh’s book The Score Takes 2018-01-04 Bill Walsh Score Takes Care of ItselfCare of Itself.  As a Glazier and Nike speaker for the past 20 years, I have had the pleasure of listening to some of the greats in our profession speak, but no one was more impressive than Bill Walsh.  Hundreds of coaches sat motionless hanging on his every word for an hour.

Coach Walsh’s message that day at the AFCA national convention, and the theme of his book hold true on the field and in life.  He believed that if you did everything right throughout the year the final score of games would be in your favor.  5 years ago when we started cultivating the St Johnsbury program’s culture, the philosophy we shared with our players 5 years ago at St Johnsbury Academy could have come right of the pages of Coach Walsh’s book: “games are not won on weekends in the fall”.

In my most recent blog, we went into great detail on end of season staff duties and the details of auditing your staff.  Now we turn our focus on planning our schedule for 2018. We “begin with the end in mind,” planning opportunities and events to develop our coaches and players, while reinforcing the St Johnsbury culture throughout the year.  A list of dates and events follow as part of the plan to get us from New Years to game 1.

Jan 5 – Olympic Weightlifting Clinic for players and coaches hosted by US Senior International Coach Chris Polakowski.

Jan 6-7 – USA Olympic Weightlifting level I Certification Course for coaches

Jan 9 – Begin Winter athletic performance program.

Jan 15 – I speak at Championship Football Clinic, Bergen NJ on Slide Protection.  Prior to presenting at Clinics, I present to our staff.  It serves as practice for me and a development opportunity for them.

Jan 27 – I speak at the USA Football National Conference on all the plays we run out of our Dart/Counter scheme.

Feb 4 – Host a Super Bowl party for players and staff.  End it at halftime.  The next day is a school day.

Feb 19-22 – Staff meetings in preparation for Spring Practices.

Feb 24 – I speak at the Atlantic City Glazier Clinic in 3 “Chalk War” sessions of our Spread Offense vs 3-4, 4-2-5 and 3-3 Stack defenses.

Mar 5-9 – Spring Practices

Mar 12 – Begin Spring athletic performance program

Mar 16-17 Vermont Interscholastic Football League Meetings and Clinic.

March 25 – 17th Annual Alercio OLine Clinic at The Hun School of Princeton NJ

June 11 – Begin Summer athletic performance program.  Mondays: Strength & OLine practice.  Tuesdays: Speed & 7v7 Practice, Thursdays: Strength & 7v7 Practice.

June 25-29 – Youth Football Camp taught by Staff and Senior Players.

July 14 – Northeast 7v7 Tournament, Exeter NH.

July 21 – Northeast Kingdom 7v7 Tournament and Strongman Competition, St Johnsbury VT.

July 23-26 – Mini Camp

July 30-Aug 10 – Off.  Football families know this is the time to schedule vacations.

Aug 12 – Meet the Coaches.  Players and parents meet the football coaching staff.

Aug 13 – Training Camp Begins

I’ll continue to reinforce opportunities to converse face to face as dates draw closer. I really enjoy engaging with coaches, players, and other readers of the blog (as well as followers on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram!)  I’d be happy to come to visit with your staff at the clinics mentioned above or meet at your school.

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 and share with your colleagues and friends. Thanks for your time!

Offensive Line… 2 or 3 Point Stance?

2-point or 3-point?

2 and 3pt stance

In the spring of 2004, after hosting the 3rd annual Alercio OLine Clinic with over 700 players and coaches in attendance, I was contacted by K.C. Keeler, who at the time was the head football coach at the University of Delaware.  Coach Keeler and his offensive line coach, Kyle Flood, invited me down to Delaware to discuss what had made my clinics so popular.

The Blue Hens had just won the 2003 I-AA National Championship and both Coach Keeler and Coach Flood were well known in the northeast as offensive innovators.  I knew a trip to Newark would be a great opportunity for me to learn.  Having watched their national championship game on ESPN in December, I was struck by something almost unheard of 15 years ago.  They played the entire game with their offensive linemen in 2-point stances.

After sharing the details of my clinic with them, they made themselves and their video available to me.  I watched over and over as they successfully ran Power in short yardage and goal line situations with their linemen in 2-point stances.  I was sold.

The 2-point stance has allowed our players to look to the sideline for plays in our no-huddle system.  It makes it easier for them to recognize fronts and communicate blocking schemes.  Pass sets, jump sets, pulls, combos and double teams are all easier to execute from a 2-point stance.

If you are an option team who is 90% downhill run blocking in the sagittal plane, I would suggest you keep your linemen in 3-point stances.  If not, I would strongly suggest you consider getting your big guys’ hands off the ground!

Coach Rich Alercio is available to assist with one on one, small group, or large audience presentations. For more than 20 years, Coach Alercio has led, taught, coached and mentored student athletes and coaches across the high school, college, and professional levels of football.

Rich’s National level presentations for clinics like Nike and Glazier, have earned him acclaim and praise for his offensive innovations as a strategist and play caller, and his one on one “techniques in the trenches” offensive line coaching has improved the tactics, techniques and procedures of more than 10,000 Offensive Linemen over nearly 20 years.

Contact Coach Rich Alercio at

Rich Alercio’s OLine Clinic Recap

More than 200 offensive lineman representing over 40 high schools in 2 states along with dozens of their coaches made the annual pilgrimage to the 16th Alercio OLine Clinic on Sunday, March 26.

We spent 4 hours at the Hun School of Princeton learning and drilling 2 & 3-pt stances, 5 Run Steps, 2 Pass Steps, Run & Pass Punches, Targets and Strike Points, Drive Blocks, Down Blocks, Jump Sets, 4 Pulling Techniques, Combination Blocks, Double Teams, Pass Sets, 3 Run Blocking Schemes (Man, Zone & Gap) and Slide Protection.

Players and coaches both enjoyed the day, the team building, camaraderie and a chance to learn new techniques and improve skills.

If you’d like more info on the clinic, techniques, or how you could have Coach Rich Alercio teach his “Techniques for the Trenches” clinic at your school, please email Coach Alercio

Check out some of the participants below:


1-Manalapan, Cedar Grove, Becton
2- Toms River North, Steinert, Immaculata
3-Manchester, KIPP NYC, Hudson Catholic, Princeton
4-Holy Cross, Delran, Central Regional, Ewing
5-Absegami, Bridgewater, Westfiled, South Hunterdon
9-Montclair, Hamilton West, Manasquan, Old Bridge, Ocean City, Pope John Paul II
8-Paulsboro, Montgomery, Belleville, Columbia, Nottingham
7-Shabazz, Rahway, Manville, Somerville
6-Parsippany, Washington Twp, Bloomfield

Teaching & Drilling the Screen & Draw Game

This Martin Luther King Day, January 16, I will be speaking at Championship Football Clinics 18th Annual Offensive Line Clinic along with John Peterson, University of Pittsburgh, Justin Frye, Boston College, Allen Mogridge, Florida International, AJ Blazek, Rutgers University & Rich Hargitt, Eastside HS, S.C.

The clinic begins at 8am and is located at the Knights of Columbus, 79 Pascack Rd Washington Twp NJ. 2 miles from Bergen Catholic, High School

My topic is Teaching and Drilling the Screen and Draw Game.  Our Draws are 3 different plays but only 1 Scheme.  We run a QB Lead Draw, a QB Draw in Empty with a Pulling Tackle and a RB Lead Draw.  All three Draws are blocked the same with only one exception…the person assigned to block the Sam (1st playside LB).   The Tackles block #2 on the LOS (DE), Guards block #1 on LOS (DT or NG) and the Center blocks Mike (Middle or Backside LB).  Center will combo with either Guard if their #1 is in his path to Mike.  On our QB Lead Draw, the running back isolates the Sam.  We have our H-Back block the Sam on our RB Draw.  We pull the backside Tackle to block the Sam on our QB draw in Empty and align the TE next to him to cut of his #2.


Draw is a running play so all of the offensive linemen can run block the scheme; but to create larger holes and encourage defensive linemen to displace themselves, we want our linemen to Jump Set any defensive linemen in an outside alignment (examples: Tackle vs a 5 tech or Guard vs a 3 tech).  On our Jump Set, we teach the offensive lineman to take a Base Run Step with his inside foot; and show a pass set with his upper body.  The “High Hat” of the pass set gives the DL a false read of pass and gets him in to a pass rush and away from the point of attack.  The Base Run Step with the inside foot defends the play in case of the DL being on an inside rush or slant.

We drill three scenarios in our Jump Sets.  When the DL gets upfield in a pass rush, we Club & Ride.  Our visual target is the near Pec.  We hold the set position until the rusher gets hip-to-hip then we turn towards him to club & ride him upfield.  The strike points are outside hand to near shoulder and inside hand to spine.  We are looking to club the middle of the back just below the shoulder pads.  On the ride, we want to be underneath the rusher so that he cannot retrace his steps when he recognizes Draw.    The next scenario is a DL who does not rush, but rather sits and reads.  After our Jump Set and the recognition that he is not rushing, we get in to an Angle Drive Block with a visual target of the near Pec and Strike points of near shoulder with the inside hand and sternum with the outside hand.  The last scenario we drill is the DL on an inside rush or slant move.  We must recognize the threat to our inside immediately and get in to a Vertical Drive Block to stop any inside penetration with a visual target of the sternum and strike points on both pecs.

Our Slip Screens are 3-man, 2-count screens to the RB or TE and are run off of plays in our offense with NOW throws.  This allows us to run all of our screens as Screen Pass Options (SPOs).  Just like an RPO, we will identify a defender and read him as to whether we throw the Now throw of the pass play or turn to throw the screen.  This also sells the screen when we do throw it because the receivers are running routes and the QB has his eyes on a route opposite the screen.


On our Stick Slip, we read the Sam to throw the Stick route to the TE or Slip Screen to the RB.  On our Boot Screen, will read the Sam to throw our TE Pin Flat or RB Slip.  On our Sprint Y Slip, we throw a slide route to our Slot Receiver or a Slip to the TE.

On all of our Screens we block the protection of the play for a 2-count so there is no new teaching.  After the 2-count, three linemen will depart to the edge of the box on the screen side.  The first one looks Out, the second looks Up and the third looks In.  On our Stick Slip and Sprint Y Slip, the two Guards and Center pull out on the Screen.  Since we pull a Guard in our Boot protection, on our Boot Slip, we pull the Screen side Tackle, Center and Playside Guard out on the Screen.  The other two linemen stay in their protection.

The technique we teach and drill on Screens for the offensive linemen is to Run (Out, Up, or In), Buzz (feet before contact) then block.  On the block the visual target is the sternum and the strike points are the pecs.  We buzz our feet to get the offensive lineman under control before making contact.