I had an opportunity to attend a Glazier Football Clinic in Dallas this past weekend, and I was fortunate to run into former Philadelphia Eagles eight year offensive lineman David Alexander. Alexander was selected in the fifth round of the 1987 draft and played for Eagles head coaches Buddy Ryan and Rich Kotite. He was forthcoming about how hard it was to guard his teammates Reggie White and Jerome Brown in practice. Alexander also talked about intriguing subjects ranging from 2014 draft prospects who can help the Eagles, to his assessment of head coach Chip Kelly’s first year in Philadelphia. Read on for the entire transcript of our conversation, and don’t hesitate to leave your own comments in the section below.
Matt Thornton: Why do you attend Glazier Clinics? What do you hope to get out of the weekend?
David Alexander: As a head coach, we do as much staff development at Glazier Clinics as we talk about the X’s and O’s. I want all my staff guys going in, listening to different ideas and listening to how successful coaches from other programs are doing things. We always take tidbits from others here and there. I love to come to these events and swap ideas with other coaches. I hope my assistant coaches are getting tons of information out of these other coaches so we can take that back and install it into our program.
Matt Thornton: I know you’ve coached at the elementary school, middle school, high school and professional level with Arena Football 2’s Tulsa Talons; how can coaches at each of those levels benefit from Glazier Clinics?
David Alexander: The Glazier Clinics do an unbelievable job. They’ve got youth topics, offensive and defensive topics, they’ve got them all. Football is football, whether it’s sixth grade to high school to the NFL, football fundamentals are the same. When you get to youth, hopefully the youth coaches will come to these clinics and realize if they can teach their kids fundamentals, then they will be better football coaches. Don’t try to be Bill Walsh or Buddy Ryan implementing complex 4-6 defenses or the West Coast offense, the clinics help coaches stick to the fundamentals.
The other great benefit I would say has to do with team building. One of my favorite sessions I went to today was a Master Sergeant from the Marines talking about team building philosophy and the military has probably been studying it longer than anyone has. The Master Sergeant communicated in a way that I hadn’t thought about before and it was just a very cool session. He had a chest full of medals, and had done five tours of duty, so he was a pretty impressive guy. He just got back from a 9 month tour from Jordan.
Matt Thornton: How close do you follow the Eagles?
David Alexander: I follow them pretty close. Obviously the players and coaching staff have all turned over since my days as an Eagle, and some of the administration has turned over as well. There is a writer named Dave Spadaro who I was one of his first assignments when he was a young journalist. He called me a few weeks back and I just did a story for the Philadelphia Eagles Alumni web site, which was really cool. I still stay in touch with the team as much as I can, and of course some of the alumni I played with as well.
Matt Thornton: Oklahoma tends to have many Dallas Cowboys fans. What’s that like living and coaching in enemy territory?
David Alexander: I grew up in Oklahoma, so I was a huge fan of Roger Staubach, Calvin Hill, Billy Joe Dupree, Ed “Too Tall” Jones, and Randy White, but once I got drafted by the Eagles, I immediately hated the Cowboys. We hated them when I played, it was just a part of it. Now that I am back in Oklahoma, there are not many Philadelphia Eagles fans in the Tulsa metroplex. But the few Eagles fans that are here, when they find out I played for them, it’s just like I’m back in Philadelphia. You know, I couldn’t buy a beer at the bar even if I wanted to.