They arrived in the South Park Blocks together just over 19 months ago, fresh off two successful seasons at the University of Hawaii. Head coach Jerry Glanville, full of his anecdotes and professional experience as a defensive mastermind, and offensive coordinator Mouse Davis, with his local background and explosive offense.
Archie’s wry hook
They arrived in the South Park Blocks together just over 19 months ago, fresh off two successful seasons at the University of Hawaii.
Head coach Jerry Glanville, full of his anecdotes and professional experience as a defensive mastermind, and offensive coordinator Mouse Davis, with his local background and explosive offense.
Both spoke highly of each other, with Davis praising Glanville for his intensity and coaching style, and Glanville not so secretly admiring Davis for his tireless work ethic and experience.
When interim athletic director Teri Mariani was searching for candidates, it was Davis who informed her that Glanville had some interest in the job. Returning the favor a couple of weeks later, Davis became the first man hired on Glanville’s coaching staff.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the two coaches, with nearly 80 combined years of experience on the football field, have learned the tricks of the trade.
Both have become exemplary salesmen, pitching their product to media, administration and recruits.
But on the field is where Glanville and Davis are best known: Glanville for his aggressive and frequently blitzing defense, and Davis for his high scoring and never boring run-and-shoot offense.
It seemed like a perfect marriage of two football masterminds that most Vikings fans felt lucky to have on campus.
But 19 months ago, nobody, including the two newly arrived coaches, would have told you that the team they inherited would have a combined record of 4-11.
Even more surprising than that underachieving record has been the incongruous relationship on the field between Glanville’s self-proclaimed, “hardest hitting defense on the West Coast,” and Davis’ sporadic offense.
Generally, the offensive and defensive units of a football team seem unattached to each other. They practice separately and feature different coaches with different players with different skills.
But on Saturday afternoons these two units, represented by Glanville and Davis, are essentially married, although it seems lately that they may have irreconcilable differences.
This season Glanville’s defense has been weakened by injuries and inexperience. The best remedy for that illness would be an offense that eats the clock and keeps the leaky defense off of the field.
Enter the run-and-shoot.
Davis’ offense might by dynamic, but its main goal is to move the ball efficiently down the field and score quickly. When that offense is complicated by inaccurate throws and dropped passes, it forces the beleaguered defense back on the field, and those hard-hits quickly become missed tackles and blown assignments.
Even when the Vikings have scored this season, nine of their 16 scoring drives have taken less than two minutes. And only three of those 16 drives have taken longer than five minutes.
All this means more time on the field for Glanville’s defense.
Saturday in Sacramento, the defense swarmed early, forcing two turnovers that created a quick 14-0 lead for the Vikings.
But in similar fashion to their other two losses this season, the Vikings were eventually steamrolled by the Sacramento State ground attack, losing the time of possession battle by nearly 10 minutes.
Over the course of the four games, the Vikings opponents have possessed the ball 35 minutes more than Davis’ offense.
Like any marriage, these units depend on each other for help and encouragement. When one is having a tough day, it can be tough for either to be successful.
If the Vikings want to improve on their 3-8 record from a year ago, and if Glanville’s defense is going to continue to give up long drives and chunks of yards on the ground, then Davis’ offense is going to have to find a way to keep them off the field by controlling the ball.
Sunday through Friday, Davis and Glanville are on the same wavelength, preaching similar fundamentals to their team at either end of the practice field and relating quotes and stories to humor the media.
But it doesn’t seem to matter how good their friendship might be, because when the Vikings are on the field and it’s game time, neither coach seems to give the other what he needs.