Thinking about 'Bama
By Stephen Tsai
Advertiser Staff Writer
By Stephen Tsai
No, indeed, the University of Hawai'i football team's defensive coordinator is not in Honolulu anymore.
Jerry Glanville is spending the offseason in his family's hometown of Dawsonville, Ga. — population: 100 percent good ol' folks — where weekends are made for football, auto racing and church services.
"It's the home of Wild Bill from Dawsonville," said Glanville, referring to NASCAR legend Bill Elliott.
"Everybody in Dawsonville races," Glanville added. "If they pull you over, it's only to see your engine. They don't care how fast you're going. They want to know what you're running."
Honolulu, Glanville said, "is the only place I've been where 55 (mph) is fast. Where I live, if you go 55, they'll pull you over and give you a ticket because you're holding everything up."
Last month, Glanville completed his scouting tour, attending spring practices at high schools across Georgia. He recently completed a European vacation. Next month, he and his wife plan to track a wolf pack's migration in Wyoming.
But no matter where he is, Glanville said, "I'm thinking about Alabama" — UH's season-opening opponent.
Glanville slowed down to talk football in a telephone interview with The Advertiser.
On scouting in Georgia:
"In Georgia, spring practice is big; it's huge. Every school from the Big Ten comes down because the Ohios and Michigans don't have spring football at that time. Every day I could be at a different practice, and there probably will be five, six college coaches with you. They all drive up in a rent-a-car, and I come up in one of my race cars. The other coaches all laugh. They say, 'We can hear you coming for 2 1/2 miles.'
"All of my cars are race cars. I would either take the '87 Monte Carlo Super Sport or the '84 T-Bird. Those are the two cars I usually drive. Sometimes I'll take something else, but those usually are what I'm mowing around in."
On the number of cars he owns:
"You don't want to know. And my wife may want to read the article. I guess I could tell her, 'Oh, no, another typo.'"
On why he accepted the UH job:
"The loyalty to June (Jones, UH's head coach). June said, 'We need help.' That's about all he said. I do get asked about it every day. I'm going to put a sign on my yard."
On last season, his first as UH's defensive coordinator after a 12-year hiatus from coaching:
"Last year I was disappointed in myself that I didn't help June as much as I thought I would. He helped me more than I helped him so far. When he came in with me (as an NFL assistant in the 1980s), he made a bigger impact quicker than the impact I made for him."
On his team's defensive struggles last season:
"I think it's a growing deal. We can play one defense. If we play that all day, we're really good at it. But when you get into a game, maybe in 15 plays, you play 12 different defenses. That was the deal. In the spring, they were totally different. They understood what we wanted to do. I blame myself that we couldn't rock and roll (last season), we couldn't play 10 plays with 10 different defenses."
On changing UH's 4-3 defensive alignment to his 3-4 scheme last season:
"I watched what they did in the 4-3 (in 2004). They were 117th in the nation in the 4-3. I didn't see anything there that would make me want to go back to that.
"(In the 3-4, Kila Kamakawi'ole), the defense end, made such a quick adjustment to outside linebacker that it made the move easier. If we were in a 4-3 or a 3-4, he was going to play. He's the one guy who made the adjustment. He picked it up faster than anybody else."
On the defensive ends adjusting to the 3-4:
"The bottom line is you have to be a technician. I looked at the films (of 2004). We were playing yardball. We were running around. Even if I were coaching a 4-3, (the ends) would have to learn the technique and how to execute their assignment, something we weren't doing in a 4-3 at all. It wouldn't have mattered if we stayed in a 4-3. They've got to quit playing yardball. Yardball accounts for you being 117th versus the rush. In their 4-3, they were playing yardball, which means everyone was chasing the ball, and forgetting about what they've got to do first. You can't play good team defense that way. There are no good defenses where you don't have to be totally unselfish."
On why he decided to return for a second season:
"I'm really returning because I don't think we got done what we wanted to get done. After spring (practice), I felt we have a chance to get done what we want to get done. I think if we would have had everything in place, and I could have said to June, 'we're ready to go,' I may have gone a different way. We were not satisfied with what we did (last year). That's my fault."
On his goals for the defense:
"The way we play, you can't worry about the stats. You can't worry about ratings. What you've got to be satisfied with is that we can play 10 different defenses in a row, and that we can play them correctly. And that we chase and we hunt and we hit. We really improved in that (at the end of last season), but we fell off in the spring. The worst thing that happens to coaches is, you've got a great hitting football team, and you assume that next year you'll build from there and be better. That never happens. You have to start over. We got a whole lot smarter in the spring, but we weren't as good as hitters as we were last year. I'd rather take a bullet than have that as our calling card. I want us to hit like we did last year, and be smarter. And we did so much teaching in the spring. We have to go back and be the best hunting-chasing-hitting football team. That's what they built on last year. (At the end of) last year, we chased and we hit. We've got to go back and re-emphasize that."
On UH cornerbacks C.J. Hawthorne, a junior college transfer, and A.J. "Smiley" Martinez, a converted wideout:
"I think Hawthorne was the biggest surprise (in spring practice). We didn't know if he was going to play offense, defense or what he was going to do. He did a good job on offense (as a wideout). But with the numbers over there, you have to ask, is he going to start? You don't know. Well, let's take a look to see if he can start on the other side. He's not only a good football player, he's a great person. He's a very high-character individual. He wants to be coached. He wants to do it right.
"A.J. is not too far behind him. A.J. could be a very good player if he could do it correctly every day. What's happened to A.J. in the past is he's had three days on and three days off. I kind of thought he was working for the fire department. He's capable of doing it every day. But talking about it and thinking about it, he's got to go do it."
On the cornerback recruits:
"You hope some of them can play. The best thing from spring practice is we found we have two (Hawthorne and Martinez) who can help us right away. You only get better by coaching what's on the field. Anybody you recruit is on paper, and paper can crumble. I don't get too excited about paper conversations. I like to see action. But June made a commitment to recruiting junior college corners. He thought if we signed four, we would be able to play. I don't think he thought Hawthorne would be one of them, and Smiley would become one of them. Those two have a chance to become good football players."
On playing more man-to-man coverages:
"We would like to play man a whole lot more than we did, which would mean one time. Playing man isn't the answer. Playing man and winning is the answer. By winning, I mean winning the one-on-one battles."
On the future of Kenny Patton, a starter at cornerback who moved to wideout in the spring:
"I don't think he comes back (to defense). June thinks he can make plays and help us win games as a wide receiver."
On the return of free safety Leonard Peters, who recently was granted a medical exemption that allows him to play as a sixth-year senior in 2006:
"That's going to be big. He looked so good in the preseason (in 2005), I was protecting him in the calls. And I lost him (to an injury) in the first game, anyway. June and I both agreed, we're going to play him wide open. We're not going to protect him. If he can play 13 games — you can write it down in concrete — we're going to build a new highrise. If he plays 13 games, we're going to be a good football team."
On Brad Kalilimoku, a starting inside linebacker last year who practiced at strong safety in the spring:
"If he didn't get hurt (pulled hamstring in the spring), we would have tried him at outside linebacker. I think he can make plays there. Hamstrings bother you. Smiley had a hamstring (injury). Brad's got a hamstring (injury). That comes under the heading of availability. Ability doesn't mean much if you don't have availability. It's very important for those two guys to stretch extra. They have to hydrate themselves. In football, once you get a hamstring (injury), you can never quit drinking water. You have to be so hydrated to give the hamstring a chance. When we play Alabama, we're going to have to start hydrating those two on Wednesday. It'll be so humid at Alabama, they'll have water in their shoes. They'd better have a full tank before the contest starts. You can't wait until game day to hydrate yourself."
On the defensive line:
"Our nose tackle (Michael Lafaele) is solid. When we started a year ago, it was, 'Red rover, red rover, send somebody over.' We tried everybody over there."
On the linebackers:
"My two inside linebackers (Solomon Elimimian and Adam Leonard) gave up parties, socializing, having a life to become better players. They don't like football. They love it. You have to love their attitude."
On his offseason:
"I'm always thinking about football. I don't golf. The last time I golfed was in the sixth grade. I'd rather take three friends and go on a hike. It's a much better walk when you don't have to worry about looking for your golf ball.
"I don't like to talk about politics. Nobody wants to know my opinion on the subject. Barry Bonds? I don't even know what position he plays. All I know is he doesn't play football.
"I remember last year June introduced me to this guy at practice, a nice guy. I asked him where he went to school. I thought he was a tight end (when he was) in college. June told me later, 'That's the president of our school.' I didn't know that. He looked like he could have been a former player."
Reach Stephen Tsai at firstname.lastname@example.org.