With Glanville, Hawaii's outlook brightens

Warriors have 3 on staff who are ex-NFL coaches

College Football

September 03, 2005|By Bill Ordine | Bill Ordine,SUN STAFF

Jerry Glanville, whose taste in fashion leans toward the funereal, had one question when he was named defensive coordinator at the University of Hawaii, which gave up 38 points a game last season.

"I wanted to know if I had to wear one of those shirts with the flowers on it," said Glanville, who in his days as an NFL head coach in Houston and Atlanta during the late 1980s and early '90s, was the NFL's Man in Black.

While Aloha wear isn't exactly Glanville's style, it's clear that the guy who helped christen the Astrodome "The House of Pain" and directed the Falcons' "Grits Blitz" is happy to be back coaching.

Since he was fired by Atlanta after the 1993 season and replaced by June Jones -- the Hawaii head coach who hired him five months ago -- Glanville has spent most of his football weekends as a television commentator on Fox, HBO and CBS.

"I never had a day doing TV that I didn't miss coaching," said Glanville, 63. "And I never covered a game where I wasn't disappointed that I wasn't part of it. TV is not coaching."

Glanville will get to do plenty of it starting tonight when the Warriors take on defending national champion Southern Cal at packed Aloha Stadium. That will be followed by a road game at Michigan State before the Warriors begin their Western Athletic Conference schedule.

Last year, Hawaii -- which operates the run-and-shoot offense -- scored more than 40 points seven times on its way to an 8-5 record. On the flip side, the Warriors were buried 69-3 by Boise State and 70-14 by Fresno State.

With Hawaii losing all of its offensive skill players, Glanville's defense might be the only hope the Warriors have of keeping it close against USC.

"The only fear I have is for that horse that Southern Cal has, that Traveler," Glanville said of the white steed that USC's Trojan mascot rides. "If he runs up and down the sideline every time they score, he just might die."

Among the Warriors' defenders is former Aberdeen High School star, C.J. Allen-Jones. A backup weakside linebacker, the 6-foot-2, 204-pound Allen-Jones said that Glanville's influence was almost immediate.

"We're flying to the ball and everyone's putting a hat on the receiver or the runner," Allen-Jones said. "His blitzes are incredible. He can have people coming at you from just about anywhere."

Among the many challenges facing Hawaii, though, is that Southern Cal has two Heisman Trophy frontrunners, quarterback Matt Leinart and tailback Reggie Bush.

"What bothers me the most about them," Warriors coach Jones said of USC during a press conference early in the week, "is that we looked at their scoring drives last year -- they had over 50 ... that took less than one minute."

In addition to hiring Glanville, Jones reached into his old NFL network to hire another famous assistant, Mouse Davis, considered the father of the run-and-shoot.

It remains to be seen, though, whether the Warriors can generate the kind of offense they did in 2004 when then-senior quarterback Timmy Chang threw 602 passes for more than 4,200 yards.

Despite Chang's departure, Jones said he's committed to the run-and-shoot. Meanwhile, Glanville will try to hold the defense together even though he knows he'll usually be on the short end of the time-of-possession battle.

"Time is important, but points are more important," Glanville said. "I've always said that you have to run the ball for attitude but you have to score points to win, and these days it's hard to win 10-7 games."

Glanville said one big difference between the pros and college has been the time constraints on student-athletes. With limited football study time available and given the choice between showing his players video of themselves or the opposition, Glanville said he's opted for the self-observation.

Given the caliber of today's opponent, that might be psychologically as well as tactically advantageous.

"Frankly, I don't think these kids have any idea who they're playing," he said. "Well, they know who -- they just don't know how really good they are."

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