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Torque’d Interview Series: Oregon Offensive Line Coach A’lique Terry

Torque’d is a series of interviews and stories of athletes, coaches, and professionals in world of sports and sports culture.

We had the opportunity to interview Coach A’lique Terry, now assistant coach at the University of Oregon where he is the offensive line coach.

The prior season, Coach Terry was an assistant Defensive line coach for the Minnesota Vikings, and just prior to that season, the youngest offensive line coach ever hired in the NCAA for The University of Hawaii. And before this, he was an assistant Coach at Oregon under Coach Mario Cristobal.

The insight Coach Terry gives as a former Power 5 Athlete, Collegiate coach, and NFL is invaluable.



A’lique, FIRST and FOREMOST proud is an understatement that I am of you. From a git, to elite level athlete, to coaching on the highest stages, your drive to just do well and continue learning is a standard and an example. What is the end goal for you?


As weird as it sounds I don’t know what that is exactly. The end goal on first thought would be to help assist in molding the next set of the best players to ever play this game. Trying to assist them in every way possible. Physically as a player and just as much mentally to reach their own goals and truest potential. While the competitor in me also wants to win as many games as humanly possible, while doing so.


Hailing from South Florida, sports is a way of life for most in the 305. From Pop Werner to Hialeah, how you do feel growing up in Miami contributed to your playing and coaching career?


It’s everything. It’s why I feel like I’ve been blessed with these opportunities thus far. We live, breathe, eat football down in the crib. So how I approach the game daily as a coach is the exact same way I approached it as a player. With the same love and passion I had for it since I was 4 starting at Hadley Park.


Your old man was one of the biggest influences on my playing journey, so much so that I was on the verge of transferring high school in Tennessee to Florida just to play for him. Who would you say had some of the biggest impact on your playing career?


Pops most definitely. Pops and football are two things that will always make sense. People were called on this earth to do certain things and his I truly believe was to introduce football to all of us. His love for the game, created and established a way of life in so many of us. It created our habits, our grind, our consistency. And none of us were truly realizing it at the time. I owe it to him and the love he gives this game daily to give that same love in return.


Who has the biggest influence on your coaching career?


Tooooo many people now at this point. Pops most definitely the first But I’ve been blessed now to be apart of rooms & staffs and learn from people who have influenced me in ways I’ve never thought imaginable. LeCharles Bentley, CJ Davis, Alex Mirabal, Mario Cristobal, Nick Tabacca, , Dave Clawson, Joe Moorhead, Warren Ruggerio, Bryan McClendon, Tyler Santucci, The list goes on. I’ve been a sponge to it all. It’s a credit to all of them, the Lord put those gentlemen in my life and I would be dumb not to learn from them.


You came out as one of the top offensive lineman prospects in the country before committing to Wake Forrest. What advice do you give to the up and comers out of Dade trying to play at that level?


Do work CONSISTENTLY and THOROUGHLY! If your name is on it , do it with the the upmost precision. Build that habit now! How you do anything is how you do everything. There’s a million people chasing the spot you’re looking for. How are you separating yourself daily! Be consistent and thorough with everything you do and the Lord will let the rest handle itself.


While you were at Wake Forrest, you dealt with an injury that for a bit seemed to hamstring your playing career. It also seemed like a blessing in a sense because maybe it accelerated your intro in coaching. How challenging was it physically and mentally battling injury? What was your thought process going through it?


It was challenging as ever because I wanted to be a NFL player more than anything in the world. It’s what I dreamed of my whole life. You imagine and dream for it to go many ways but NEVER once do you think about injury putting a hault to it. I was down and out for a bit but It was the best thing the Lord ever did for me. If it wasn’t for Coach Tabacca recommending I try to take on a student-coach role I don’t think any of this happens. I truly believe my love for the game would’ve cause me to be a guy who did whatever it took to make it to the league long after my college days were done. Even if that ship had sailed! That hard time forced me into the next Segway in life and it was the one I feel I was truly meant for.


Every athlete goes through what we call the transition period. The athlete career comes to an end, and you begin to transition into life NOT as an athlete. How was this process for you? Challenging? Uplifting? Tell us.


The process was hard at first honestly. One day you literally just stop doing what you’ve done and have been consumed with for as long as you can possibly remember. It’s hard working a regular job. Being around the “working world” in a cubicle setting. I did it for a short period after graduation. It’s the complete opposite of what we are accustomed to. The beauty in that experience I learned is all that what we go through in football prepares us for literally everything life throws at you. It also taught me if I was going to be working crazy hours, I’m going to be doing it around something I love! So had to get back into football!


What advice do you give to that collegiate athlete who might be struggling going through that very transition?


There are a TON of resources around you that want to help. Don’t think league only. Start interacting and networking with the people around your campus and community. Somebody you are walking past daily has a opportunity or connection that could possibly be 2x more impactful for your life than you making it to the league.


As a coach, you started out as an assistant at Wake Forrest, then on to one of the biggest stages in college football coaching under one of my biggest inspirations, Coach Mario Cristobal, and then on to Hawaii. What has this experience been like?


It’s been something out of a movie. I never imagined this. Thought of this. Or even considered the Lord would allow me to see and experience the greatness I’ve been able to experience. Seeing how Coach Cristobal attacked and came to work everyday, set a standard I think for me will always set me apart from the rest. Respectfully that’s why I truly believe that’s why he has become one of the best in this business. He just works like none other. It’s contagious. It ain’t for everybody.


While we mention Hawaii, you were hired as the youngest Head Offensive Line coach in the entire nation. That speaks volumes of your commitment to not only understanding the game, but also your energy and ability to connect with young players and bring out the best in them. In your opinion, what did it take to get to that point?


Being around great teachers and genuine molders of men. Everybody gets caught up in the X’s and O’s but forget there are humans needed to complete those X’s and O’s that we draw up. So I been blessed to Learn how to uniquely mix teaching the craft, teaching the scheme but also being present in your players lives however they deem that necessary, I think is what has helped. Some players want to talk all the damn time and some barely ever say more than a sentence at a time. Either way I’m going to love you hard, Coach you hard & have fun even harder. That’s something I learned from Coach Mirabal! He demands the upmost from his guys but he loves them even more.


Now you are coaching literally on the biggest stage in football as an assistant defensive line coach in the NFL for the Minnesota Vikings. Again this speaks even more on the impact you have had on your peers and athletes coached. For other young and aspiring coaches who want to get to that level, what do you tell them? How important are building relationships along the way?


Just that! Relationships are key! It’s VERY important! You are not to big for anybody! This beautiful game creates friendships and brotherhoods like none other. Genuinely enjoy those. I’ve learned those genuine relationships Have been able to help open up opportunities for me, I would of NEVER been even close to obtaining, if it wasn’t for those people thinking about my name when somebody else asked about a position or opening.


At some point, you had aspirations to play in the NFL. No doubt you had the ability. Things happen though. Now you are in the league in an even more impactful way. When you think about that, what feeling come to mind?


The Lord makes no mistakes! My whole life I thought it was all meant to be a certain way & the path he set me on now makes even more sense and the MOST sense. He was molding me for this opportunity.

How does your coaching mentality compare to your playing mentality?


It’s the exact same! BE GREAT IN EVERYTHING WE DO! Now it’s just much more focused on the why of things and how to get mental advantages for guys. Especially now that physically , almost everybody is “equal”. So how can we create advantages in other fashions.


As an elite level offensive line and defensive line coach, what are 2 physical traits that are the most common amongst the elite level athletes that you have coached? What about intangible traits like coachability, leadership, punctuality? What do all of the successful ones have in common?


Body Control/Footwork (I’ll make that one thing together) & Hand Usage! For both sides of the ball! Those are the two physical traits that are most common amongst the elite. The one that is a non negotiable is their FINISH! That’s both sides of the trenches. The finishers separate themselves from everybody else. The intangibles you’re talking about , is required by anybody who wants to have success playing this game. You have to be coachable because you have to want to continue to get better. You have to lead in some form at some point to do things you never done! You have to get uncomfortable and make somebody else uncomfortable if it’s for the betterment of us! And punctuality is a NON NEGOTIABLE. BE WHERE YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO BE, BEFORE YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO BE THERE!


Any other words or special thanks you would like to send out?

Love y’all forever! Let’s continue making our family proud! To whoever comes across this, Don’t be good , BE GREAT! & CALL GOD!