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AFM Subscribers Ask...with Jerry Glanville

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The man in black is back...Veteran NFL coach Jerry Glanville accepted the head coaching position at Portland State earlier this year. The former head coach of both the Houston Oilers and Atlanta Falcons, Glanville spent more than a decade out of coaching while serving as a television analyst. He returned to the coaching ranks on the college level two years ago, joining June Jones’ staff in Hawaii as Defensive Coordinator. After two years in Honolulu, Glanville accepted the PSU position on February 28th. He then brought with him Hawaii’s Offensive Coordinator, Mouse Davis. The originator of the ‘Run & Shoot’ offense, Davis was Portland State’s head man in the late 70’s. Glanville became the twelfth head coach in Portland State’s history. He answers your questions...

Q. How difficult was the transition going from the DC of Hawaii, a member of the Western Athletic Conference, to Portland State, a conference member of the Big Sky? John Anderson, Assistant Coach, Liberty High School (TX). AFM subscriber since 2004.
I think the biggest difference between the two programs is outside of football. A lot of my off season time consisted of 15 hour days devoted to helping the Portland State program in a variety of ways: raising funds, working on the improvement of our facilities, coordinating travel and trying to do what I can to improve the overall marketing efforts. We made a commitment to increase ticket sales and had 12,000 at our opening home game. I hadn’t been involved at this level since I was at Western Kentucky more than 30 years ago.

Q. What was the process like in putting your staff together? What was taken into account in trying to find the best coordinators and position coaches? Art Haffner, Assistant Coach, Salem High School (NH). AFM subscriber since 2006.
I think it was so different from other situations because the college coaching convention (San Antonio/early January) was already over. At that point I found it was really too late to have people move. The opportunity to sign coaches after the convention becomes very limited. In the process of interviewing prospective candidates, I looked for teachers of technique and not yellers or screamers. Screaming, hollering and cussin’ are not how we coach. In the interview process I would ask the candidates to teach me the techniques of their specific position that they would teach the players.

Q. Once on the PSU campus, how did you determine the level of talent you had? What were the most important criteria in evaluating your overall roster? Doug Peters, Assistant Coach, Cornerstone Christian High School, Wildomar, CA. FM subscriber since 2007.
Spring practice was very important in evaluating the players because we could see how they performed on the field. These practices and our 7-on-7 drills were a big part in evaluating the overall talent level. The evaluation process itself is relatively easy; people make it more difficult than it really is. You believe what you see on film. Don’t think that all of a sudden the athlete you see on film is going to play better. Play the guys that make plays. And I don’t believe in timing them and all that. Once they’re here, you play the guys that make the plays. I call the overall process, ‘Believing What You See.’ What you see on tape is the truth and the rest is fiction. I hate the word ‘potential.’ There was a running back for the Chicago Bears a few years ago named Walter Payton, now in the Hall of Fame. No one ever referred to him as ‘having potential.’ He didn’t have potential – he had results. I don’t play the athletes that have potential – at any level. Play the guys that will win the game.

Q. What two-man receiver routes do you feel are the most difficult to cover? Dave Decker, Assistant Coach, Greenwood High School (MS). AFM subscriber since 2005.
I think it really takes three-man routes to give you trouble. I don’t think the two-man routes give you too much trouble unless they’re a switch post corner away from the other side. The three-man routes can really give you problems where you have a third receiver crossing the face of the other two. Now that changes your coverage more than two-man routes. There are really no two-man receiver routes that will ever keep you awake.

Q. What defensive alignment do you prefer vs. a one-back offense that is equally balanced between the run and the pass with talented players at all positions? Rocky Boaz, Assistant Coach, Salado High School (TX). AFM subscriber since 2007.
I prefer the 3-4 because you don’t attack anything other than pass protection schemes. You can disrupt more pass protection schemes with a 3-4 and you can bring more people to one side. If you’re a defensive coach, your life should be consumed with breaking down the pass protection schemes. It really doesn’t matter if it’s a one-back with four wides or a one-back with three wides. You have to study the pass protection and how you can beat it. It really is a defense that gives you more ways to disrupt pass protection schemes. The 4-3 defense is not as effective in attacking these protections.

Next Month: New Mexico State Head Coach Hal Mumme has established himself as a trailblazer. After establishing winning programs at Iowa Wesleyan,Valdosta State, Kentucky, and Southeastern Louisiana, Mumme is now at New Mexico State where he plans to turn the Aggies fortunes around. Considered a mastermind of the Air Raid Offense, Mumme's teams have consistently ranked among the nation’s best in passing offense, passing efficiency, and total offense. He answers your questions in next month’s issue. Go to or send your question to AFM’s Managing Editor Rex Lardner @


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