April 4, 2008
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -
Alabama's 2008 Coaching Clinic started with registration and a chalk talk Thursday night and the featured speakers took the stage on Friday at Coleman Coliseum. Over 1,000 high school coaches were on hand for the event, which will wrap up after more presentations Saturday morning and Alabama's second scrimmage in Bryant-Denny Stadium Saturday afternoon. Among the featured speakers Friday were Al Groh, Fernando Bryant, Dean Pees and Bill Belichick.
Alabama assistants Bo Davis and Curt Cignetti spoke to the group Friday from 8:30-10:00 a.m. to lead things off. Groh then talked about philosophies with the 3-4 defense for about an hour. Groh has been named ACC Coach of the Year twice (2002 & 2007) in his seven years at Virgina and has also served as a head coach in the NFL with the New York Jets.
Former Alabama great Fernando Bryant followed Groh on the schedule. Bryant, a first round pick of the Jacksonville Jaguars, recently signed with New England. The cornerback spoke about the important role high school coaches play in developing young people.
"I would like to thank the (Alabama) coaches for allowing me to come back," said Bryant. "I think Coach Saban and his staff have done a tremendous job. I would like to thank him for this opportunity. One day I want to be a high school coach because that's where I think you make the most impact. When I look back over my career and my life, there have been some pivotal people. If I can name five of them, three would be my high school coaches."
Bryant's new coach, New England defensive coordinator Dean Pees then discussed his start in the profession as a high school coach in Ohio. Pees stressed the importance of teaching defensive fundamentals, reviewed examples of leverage on film and also took questions from the audience.
Alabama head coach Nick Saban introduced Belichick and talked about their time in Cleveland when Saban worked as Belichick's defensive coordinator. In eight seasons as the head coach of the New England Patriots, Belichick has won six division crowns and three Super Bowl titles.
There was a break-out session featuring successful high school head coaches at 2:15 p.m. and then the clinic attendees watched Alabama's practice, which was held indoors due to inclement weather.
"This is a great opportunity for us to host and welcome the high school coaches of our state and surrounding states who do so much to help develop players that we have an opportunity to recruit," said Alabama head coach Nick Saban. "They do so much to teach and develop and promote our game, this is the one opportunity a year where we have to host these gentlemen and try to share some knowledge and information from a professional standpoint so they can grow and develop."
Next on the Friday schedule was dinner followed by a brief speech by Saban and keynote speaker Vince Dooley. On Saturday, UA's Kevin Steele, Jim McElwain, Bobby Williams and Scott Cochran were slated to address the group followed by a second high school coaches' break-out session. Lunch and Alabama's Saturday scrimmage wrapped up the clinic's schedule of events.