Raising Hell – From the Desk of Nathan Hellman

In his first season at the helm, Jerry Glanville fell victim to the same poison that has plagued many who have worn the Viking logo on the sideline: losing.

In his first season at the helm, Jerry Glanville fell victim to the same poison that has plagued many who have worn the Viking logo on the sideline: losing.

Despite “The Man in Black” nickname and his prestige as a former NFL head coach, Glanville guided his Portland State squad to a dismal 3-8 mark, deflating unprecedented preseason hype for the program along the way.

The ink is barely dry on the papers signed during last Wednesday’s National Letter of Intent Day where Glanville made his first grab at players that would signify a change of fate and build the initial pieces of a team he hopes will one day be crowned champions.

In head coach Jerry Glanville’s first recruiting class in the South Park Blocks, he was most definitely attempting to better the Vikings. Just like Ohio State’s Jim Tressel or Southern California’s Pete Carroll, his goal was to enhance the product. The difference is Glanville, unlike most coaches, has had the added pressure of altering the entire culture of a program.

You might ask how a bunch of high schoolers and junior-college transfers will drastically improve an underachieving team, especially when they are replacing integral pieces like wide receiver Tremayne Kirkland and hard-hitting linebacker Jordan Senn.

The answer is twofold. Sure this group of youngsters will not make an immediate impact. The laws of football simply will not allow it, as they are still in the mental and physical developmental stages of their football careers. But, sooner than later, Glanville’s class of 29 players will make a mark at Portland State.

Portland State fans will notice Glanville signed speedy, athletic players able to line up at multiple positions on the offensive side, and older, more experienced athletes for defense, a logical choice considering the Vikings ranked near the bottom of numerous defensive categories a season ago and desperately need quality talents to fill gaping voids.

With that said, expect the defense to improve mightily and the run-and-shoot offense to remain potent with more quickness and sure-handedness at the receiver position.

Also, expect the Vikings to struggle once again, most likely working tirelessly just to muster up five or six victories at season’s end.

One truth of football–at any level–is a coach must have players whose strengths coincide with his offensive and defensive schemes and overriding coaching philosophies. That seems rather obvious to most, and means with more of “Glanville’s guys” donning the Portland State colors next season, the Viking faithful will surely anticipate more victories than a year ago.

However, keep in mind a another less well-known truth is that Glanville, despite high regard among fellow coaching fraternity members, players and fans alike, is not a miracle worker. In fact, no coach can conceivably mold a bunch of pedestrian players into a championship-contending squad overnight. Not Bill Belichick. Not Bill Parcells. Not even Vince Lombardi.

Don’t count on Glanville and the Vikings rallying to a perfect season next year, or even vying for the Big Sky title. It’s just not feasible this early in his tenure. But this talent-laden recruiting class is the first step towards changing the culture of Portland State football.

At this point, that’s all Viking fans can ask for–a little bit of change.