Tony DeMeo

DeMeo Clinic draws 160 coaches to Charleston

Tony DeMeoTony DeMeo wrapped up springs drills with his University of Charleston football team with a bang on Saturday.

Besides sending the Golden Eagles out for the usual Maroon and Gold scrimmage, DeMeo and his coaching staff finished a two-day clinic for 160 high school coaches representing 22 different states and one province in Canada.

You can mark Dale Schuring, the head coach at Arthur High School in Arthur, Illinois, as a DeMeo disciple and a believer in his Triple Gun Option offense.

“We were here last spring,” said Schuring. “I first heard about Tony DeMeo and his clinic when I attended NIKE clinics and I heard him speak three different times about this. It intrigued me. We didn’t have superior athletes, but his offense was something that I felt we could compete with and have a chance with when the other team had better people.

“We tried it one year without coming here and we messed it up terribly as coaches. We didn’t have much success with it. One of assistant coaches and I came last year and found out a lot of things we did wrong and we went back and it worked perfectly for us. Now we’re here this year trying to pick up some new things, new options and new variations. We’ve found out that there are a few things that we are still doing a little wrong.

The triple gun option found a home at Arthur High. But it took a more personable approach to finally get over the learning curve of installing the offense.

“The first year, the triple [option] was probably our worst play and last year it was our best play,” Schuring said. “That’s the basis of the offense. Our coaches just didn’t understand because we had not taken the opportunity to sit down with Tony and his staff for two days at first. It was just an hour at a clinic over three different years. Of course, I had his books and stuff, but you can’t really get all of the ins and outs through just the books and videos.

“Coming here was a huge difference from our lack of success to our improved success.”

Tony DeMeo at his Coaching Clinic

Tony DeMeo at his Coaching Clinic

DeMeo’s style of being approachable and accessible to high school coaches has been a key to the success of the clinic.

“The thing that is very impressive about Tony and his staff is that if you email them or call them, they actually answer their own phones and they reply to emails,” Schuring said. “Most coaches – and I am talking from Division I all the way down to Division III and everyone in between – you’re going to get a secretary instead and four days later you may get a call back. Tony answers his own phone and he’ll talk to you. He’s probably the most open and giving coach I’ve ever been around.”

Arthur’s opponents have certainly taken notice of the triple gun.

“One of our new assistant coaches this year was a former coach for an opponent’s staff last year,” Schuring pointed out. “He said that they watched film on us and after being here and listening to all of this, they had no idea of what we were doing. It’s not something that is out there widespread or the ‘in’ thing necessarily. So we’re at a definite advantage over our opponents because it is unique.

“A lot of people run options and a lot of people run triple option. But the mechanics are so much different from the old time stuff. Most people know that it is hard to defend because you’re defenders are being assigned to the wrong person. They have no chance of succeeding. It’s a fantastic offense.

“The best part is that it is so simple [to teach],” Schuring added. “It really is. There are very few plays, but you can get good at what you’re doing. It’s his philosophy and I agree with it totally.”

DeMeo launched a personal website at about a year ago that lends support to coaches year round.

“I’ve been to the website many times,” said Schuring. “I go there everyday, sometimes several times a day. I like to check out the forum to see what people are saying. It’s a great idea.”

“The website has been really good for us,” said DeMeo. “We started the website with the idea of creating a little fraternity of coaches for this kind of an offense. We don’t charge anything to go on the website It is a pure attempt to develop a community of triple gun option coaches.”

The website features play diagrams, videos and a forum for coaches to ask questions with DeMeo answering them in detail.

“They can keep in touch with me or with each other over the course of the year,” DeMeo explained. “Now it has gotten to the point where they know as much about it as I do. They’re even answering each other’s questions. The feedback has been excellent.”

The clinic has grown steadily through unconventional means.

“We don’t do any advertising,” DeMeo said. “It’s all word of mouth. It’s just guys that have come to know this offense and want to come out and see it and learn more. We’re really flattered with the response. Here we are, we’re a Division II school.”

UC ended springs drills with a spirited scrimmage on the turf at University of Charleston Stadium on Saturday.

“This is our last scrimmage, so our goal is to get through it without any injuries,” DeMeo said. “We’ve seen some good things this spring. We’re developing some good kids. We’re just wrapping it up and having a little fun before we get out.”

Article originally appears at Re-posted with permission.