Glanville: 'They Have a Great Atmosphere'

Jerry Glanville is interested in the NC State head coaching position. The former NFL head coach is currently the architect of a developing defense at the University of Hawai'i.

Jerry Glanville prides himself on being a coach, and he couldn't be happier to see the success he's having at the University of Hawai'i. In just his second year as defensive coordinator, Glanville has installed his "Gritz Blitz" 3-4 defense and has played a huge role in the school's 9-3 season.

"Really it's been a pleasure to watch them develop," Glanville said of his players. "I think for the season we've been a tremendous gang-tackling team. The pro scouts I've talked to have stated our team was the hardest-hitting team on the west coast. I want to get us to where they say we're the hardest-hitting team in the country, not just on the west coast.

"They get after it... they really do. I'm proud of our guys because we've battled through some things defensively. We lost six defensive linemen during this season... we had to go get some offensive players and move them to the defensive side of the ball. I'm proud of them."

"I'm proud of our guys because we've battled through some things defensively."

In 2004, the year before Glanville arrived, the Hawai'i defense gave up 38.4 points per game (113th in 1-A) and 487.8 total yards per game (117th). This season they are giving up 24.08 points per game (70th) and 376.77 total yards (93rd). When you factor in the Hawai'i roster consists mainly of walk-on players converted to scholarship and the offense is the nation's best, the improvement is quite an accomplishment.

The offense, led by Heisman candidate Colt Brennan, leads the nation in scoring offense (47.31), total offense (549.92 yards per game), and passing offense (432.23 yards per game).

"Our offense gets a lot of points, but we're going to have a lot more plays on the defensive side of the ball," said Glanville. "We'll get 125 more plays run against us than a team like Boise State will... we're essentially playing three more games on defense than other teams this season because of our offense's style of play.

"Our offense helps because we can get a lot of points, and it changes what the other offenses have to do. We get a lot of sacks and turnovers, and I think that comes from us playing teams who know they are going to have to score a lot of points to beat us.

"We don't play man-to-man, and I love to play man-to-man. We just don't have the players to be able to run man-to-man like I would like to run. We're a 3-4 defense, but we come after you in a lot of different ways."

Although the offense has its positives and negatives in relation to the defense, Glanville firmly believes the run-and-shoot system is pivotal to Hawai'i's success.

"It gives you a chance... we beat teams that on paper have better personnel than we have," he said. "Like a couple of weeks back we beat Purdue. If we ran toss sweeps against Purdue, we wouldn't cross the 50-yard line... we just couldn't matchup in that way. With this offense, we ended up scoring 42 points.

"I think if you're outmanned, it gives you a chance to win. I can't tell you how many teams we've defeated that we can't matchup with man-to-man personnel-wise. I think our schemes help us compete and win football games."

Glanville began his coaching career in 1967 as defensive coordinator at Western Kentucky, three years after lettering at linebacker at Northern Michigan. He coached defensive ends and outside linebackers for six seasons at Georgia Tech before heading to the National Football League.

Glanville began his NFL career as a special teams coach and defensive assistant with the Detroit Lions from 1974-76. He joined Atlanta in 1977 as a defensive back coach and then served as defensive coordinator (1979-82) for a Falcons defense that once set an NFL single-season record for fewest points allowed (129). Glanville then traveled to Houston in 1984, and as the team's defensive coordinator the next two seasons, turned the league's worst rushing defense into the top-ranked unit in the NFL.

He took over the head coaching duties in the final two games of the season in 1985 following the firing of Hugh Campbell and became their full-time head coach in 1986, leading the club to three consecutive appearances in the playoffs.

"We've been together for a few years."

His success in Houston brought him back to Atlanta in 1990, this time as head coach. After a disappointing first-year record of 5-11, Glanville turned the team around with a 10-6 record in 1991 and a wild-card playoff berth.

After being replaced by June Jones in Atlanta, Glanville spent 11 years broadcasting NFL games, including on FOX for five years, on HBO's Inside the NFL for six years and on CBS's NFL Today and TFN (The Football Network), before accepting the defensive coordinator position at Hawai'i.

Glanville points out that coaching football is something you can never forget.

"For myself it's like you've never missed a day," he said. "Coaching is teaching. I coached high school, college, and the pros. I think that if you're a teacher, it doesn't really matter. All the players, regardless of the level, when they realize you can make them better, you have their full attention. I think you teach them what you want done, and by teaching you can mold good football players."

Glanville almost didn't end up at Hawai'i. He had all but accepted the head coaching position at Northern State University before Jones called to offer him the defensive coordinator position.

"We've been together for a few years," Glanville said of Jones. "We were together in Atlanta the first time when I was a coach and he was a player. He coached with me in Houston and coached for me in Atlanta... nothing's ever changed.

"[Northern State was] where I was headed, and I'm paying back a favor to June. When I was in Houston and with the Falcons a second time I asked June to help me, and he did. Coaches pay each other back, and I feel loyal to June because he was loyal to me."

Glanville admits that he is happy at Hawai'i. His wife, Brenda, still lives in their family home in Dawsonville, Georgia, and the 65-year old is intrigued by possibly being a head coach again.

"Oh yes, I think everybody that has been a head coach probably has that desire to do it," said Glanville. "Your priority is to be the best at what you do right now, and right now I'm the defensive coordinator at Hawai'i.

"It seems like they have a great atmosphere on gameday."

"It is really nice out here, but you do feel isolated at times... isolated away from your family. We don't get the players away from everybody else, and we have a small recruiting budget. Parents a lot of times don't want their kids to go so far away from home... it can be very hard, but we do our best with the situation."

Glanville stated that the NC State coaching position is a very attractive opportunity.

"I think that is a very good job," he said. "I have not been approached by the school at this time, but I would be interested in that position.

"I've never been on NC State's campus, but I've seen them on television. It seems like they have a great atmosphere on gameday, and a great following... their fanbase seems to be outstanding. The competition is great... the ACC and the SEC, from where I from, is the football that I really like.

"I coached at Georgia Tech and we didn't play NC State, but we played nearly everyone else in the deep south. There is great football down there."

Next up for Glanville and Hawai'i is the 2006 Sheraton Hawaii bowl, where the Warriors will face the Arizona State Sun Devils on December 24, 2006.

Expect Glanville to have the Hawai'i defense ready for the challenge.


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