On paper, the recent decision of head football coach Jerry Glanville to not renew at least eight members of last season’s football squad seemed routine. Traditionally, many new coaches have felt the need to purge their rosters when arriving at a new destination, particularly when installing new systems on either side of the ball.
On paper, the recent decision of head football coach Jerry Glanville to not renew at least eight members of last season’s football squad seemed routine.
Traditionally, many new coaches have felt the need to purge their rosters when arriving at a new destination, particularly when installing new systems on either side of the ball.
When Glanville arrived last season, he brought his patented 3-4 defense, which features aggressive blitzing play from linebackers, to accompany Darrell “Mouse” Davis’ electrifying run-and-shoot offense.
But, as if the disappointing 3-8 record in Glanville’s first season coupled with the loss of 25 seniors and a horrid offensive performance in May’s spring game weren’t enough to worry about, the players’ release has ensured that the Vikings’ boat has spun in a swirling wind of controversy all summer.
Although Glanville’s decision to release the players, many of which were expected to contribute significantly this season, only directly affects a small percentage of the roster, all of the players donning the green and black are surely feeling the effects.
In a sport that relies heavily on instincts and thrives on intensity and assertion, Glanville’s decision to remove the players has left many who were fortunate to retain their roster spots lacking confidence in the head coach’s decision.
Athletes at Portland State, perhaps at a greater level than other institutions, depend on each other for more than on-field camaraderie. They play, eat and live together, and removing teammates and friends from that tight-knit community could have unforeseen negative affects.
Some of the players removed have said that they felt they were not welcomed back because they had spoken out or questioned Glanville or Davis. Some have suggested that they were kicked off because Glanville simply disliked them.
Their vacancies at training camp put increased pressure on the incoming crop of receivers to not only learn the intricate offense at a rapid pace, but also to fill the gaps of the missing players on and off the field.
It is uncertain if Glanville’s “roster adjustment” will serve the purposes he intended–weeding out players that failed to measure up to his standard–but, whether intentional or not, the cuts have struck fear into the returning players.
Gone are the days when players are given leeway and flexibility in the classroom. Gone are the days when players are allowed to develop their strength, speed and athleticism. Gone are the days when second and third chances are given to student-athletes who experience disciplinary issues.
The new Glanville mandate has been extended, and because of it players must be on edge. Miss a weight room session, fail a class, or get in trouble with campus housing and your scholarship could be revoked.
And with the notoriety of Glanville’s name and this recent episode, players will be on their best behavior in the year to come. Because deep down many of those players know that next season a new recruit could replace them.
When Glanville and his staff had an opportunity to bring in more of the recruits that they had handpicked to fit their scheme and system, they jumped at the chance, even though the new additions would literally run some of the returning players out of the program.
And what message is that sending the players who are still on the roster?
For the players, if you miss a tackle, drop an easy interception or fail to connect down field with a wide-open receiver, could your days as a Viking be numbered, too?
Football is a game of instinct. Players perform at their highest level when they don’t have to consider the consequences of failing. The player that has to perpetually worry about making each and every play to retain his scholarship will likely struggle.
And with so much instability teeming in the locker room, victories may be difficult to come by this season.