The OUA champion Gryphons will turn to a few things they picked up from the NCAA champion Alabama Crimson Tide this fall.Seven members of the Gryphon staff travelled to Tuscaloosa, Ala., for the Crimson Tide’s annual coaching clinic hosted by Alabama head coach Nick Saban and his coaching staff April 7 to 9 on the University of Alabama campus.“It was an unbelievable experience,” Gryphon offensive coordinator Todd Galloway said. “They were national champions this year so they’re a pretty good school to learn from and get better.”The Alabama clinic has been a fixture on the Gryphon coaching calendar for the last four years with various coaches representing the Gryphs each year. Joining Galloway this year were offensive line coach Mike MacDonald, defensive coaches Adam Grandy and Devin Kavanagh and special forces coach John Casasanta.“A lot translates. We take some of it, the Xs and Os, and see if we can translate it to what we do, but the speakers they get is what I love so it’s more than Xs and Os,” Galloway said. “I learned a lot about football in general and leadership and all that kind of stuff on top of it: their points of view and how to be successful and how to do it right.”Speakers at this year’s clinic included former Indianapolis Colts head coach Tony Dungy, former Florida and South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier, former Virginia Tech head coach Frank Beamer, former Buffalo Bills general manager Bill Polian and current Philadelphia Eagles offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland along with members of Alabama’s coaching staff.“Offensively, Lane Kiffin, their offensive coordinator spoke,” Galloway said. "I learned some good things from him, both from an Xs and Os standpoint and also approach. There were some very specific things like how to move your athletes around and get them the ball. He spoke on stuff like that.“The Philadelphia Eagles O line coach spoke and he did some really good things on the screen game and making O line simple and stuff like that. Both coach Mike and I got a lot out of that.”Along with the talks and seminars, the visiting coaches also got to see the Crimson Tide practise.“You definitely take it all in in terms of this is the national champions and they’ve won four national championships in the past number of years,” Grandy said. “The level of expectation and the level of excellence with everything they do is very apparent, whether it be how to run a clinic properly or how to run an organized practice with a lot of moving parts. Those are the big things you take from there.”“(One of the big things was) watching them practice, not just how athletic and how big they are, but how well they transition and how high-tempo their practice is,” Galloway said. “It’s kind of those things that we can bring back to make our practice more efficient as well. If we scripted this more and we did that more, maybe we can get a little bit more out of our practice as well.”The time away also allowed the Gryphon coaches a chance to bond a little more. There are always changes in coaching staffs following their competitive seasons. This year, defensive coordinator Kevin MacNeill has replaced Stu Lang as the interim head coach.“That’s equally as important as everything else, getting your coaching staff together and bonding,” Galloway said.“That’s a part of it,” Grandy said. “It was a good group that went down and it’s good that you get to hang out with them. There’s a lot of football going on, but when football’s not going on, you get to kind of bond that way and I think that’s always beneficial to a good working environment.”The Alabama clinic fits well on the Gryphon schedule as the players are currently writing exams and it fits in just before the team’s annual spring camp.“Our guys just started exams so we don’t ask much of our guys right now but to study,” Galloway said. “That gives us a chance to kind of get away and do a little bit of professional development ourselves before spring camp which is in a couple of weeks. After that, East-West comes and then CFL training camps which we’ll want to be at to professionally develop as well. The beginning of April fits nicely into that timeline. We may actually use a couple of things that we got and try them out in spring camp now. We can bring some ideas back and try them out in spring camp.”There won’t be a lot of Alabama plays added to the Gryphon play book, but they have brought back plays before and those plays have produced successful results.“Every time it’s usually only one or two things,” Galloway said. “We’re not going to change who we are. We have our focus this off-season as to who we want to be and what we want to get better at. It’s really, does that fit into our offensive philosophy and is that something we can Canadianize and have benefit at this level.”To add a play or two from the Crimson Tide onto the list of plays the Gryphons use means tweaking that play a little to account for the added number of players on the field, one on offence and one on defence.“You add one more slotback and add one more (defensive back) and see if it still works,” Galloway said.“You have to kind of tweak some ideas you want to use,” Grandy said. “You don’t go down there with the intention of reinventing the wheel or changing your whole play book, but if there is some new concept you can try or some new thought or some new idea to things, those are what they’re mainly for.”First chance the coaches get add some new things into the Gryphon practice routine will be at the team’s annual spring camp. The seven-day affair is to start April 23.