For the two primary figureheads of Portland State football, Jerry Glanville and Darrell “Mouse” Davis, to speak about youth is, in a word, ironic. But that is what Glanville, 66, and Davis, 10 years his senior at 76 years old, did for the good part of an hour following the Vikings’ first practice of the summer this past Monday morning.
For the two primary figureheads of Portland State football, Jerry Glanville and Darrell “Mouse” Davis, to speak about youth is, in a word, ironic.
But that is what Glanville, 66, and Davis, 10 years his senior at 76 years old, did for the good part of an hour following the Vikings’ first practice of the summer this past Monday morning.
And it was not because the coaches were complaining about the rickety nature of the human body once a person arrives at their ages, and their wishes to once again be spring chickens with the ability to sprint the football field like a gazelle.
No, Glanville, head coach, and Davis, offensive coordinator, spent the time speaking about the fact that if most were to choose a word to describe their squad after one day of practice, two likely candidates would be young and inexperienced.
“You could not make a living here selling razors and shaving cream,” Glanville joked about his team’s youth, “because I think we have four guys who would use it.”
All joking aside, what Glanville and Davis were willing to admit was this year’s version of the Vikings has 46 new players that have been added since spring practice, the result of being forced to compensate for the loss of 25 graduating seniors.
Of the players lost, 17 were starters for the Portland State team that struggled to compile a 3-8 record in Glanville’s first season at the helm.
While Glanville vows that this astronomical amount of turnover will never occur again under his watch, except maybe when the incoming group of freshman graduate in four years, he is optimistic about the prospect of new blood in green and black.
“I would say that this is a lot more difficult, because last year we knew who was going to play,” Glanville said. “It’s going to be fun. I can’t tell you who is going to play. I can’t tell you who is going to be first team or second team.”
According to the coaches, players will be sliding in and out of starting positions throughout the weeks leading up to the season opener against Western Oregon on Aug. 30. Davis even declared that at this juncture a depth chart was “semi-non-existent.”
Adding to the uncertainty is the fact that few positions are locked up on either sides of the ball.
On offense, Davis said the quarterback position is the furthest along, however, several players are vying for the starting job, with junior Tygue Howland and sophomore Drew Hubel shaping up as the frontrunners. Junior fullback Bobby McClintock, a Big Sky preseason all-conference selection, is coming off a torn anterior cruciate ligament that he suffered in last season’s opening contest.
By all accounts, McClintock should provide an additional line of protection and a change of pace for Portland State’s traditionally pass-happy scheme.
Hubel believes the receiving corp. has more potential than the group from a year ago, especially since, as a whole, they are quicker by his estimations, making them more conducive to the run-and-shoot offense. “We have a lot more speed,” Hubel said. “But it is still a matter of making sure they know what they’re doing.”
A pair of freshman, Cory McCaffrey and Zach Todd, appear to be the early favorites for incoming impact players at the wide receiver position, where Portland State lost its top eight pass-catchers from last season. The lone offensive lineman that has solidified his spot as a starter is junior Moses Punzal, who is currently holding down fort at left guard.
Much like the offense, the Vikings’ defense lacks experience as a unit. However, again, like the offense, the defense possesses some much-needed experience at a key position: linebacker.
Three returning linebackers–seniors Andy Schantz and KJ McCrae, and junior Ryan Pederson–look to act as guiding lights for the Vikings’ defense. Since early in spring practice, Glanville has been sold on the trio, making their contributions absolutely crucial to the unit’s success.
Aside from the linebacking threesome, junior free safety Jordan Brown and newcomer senior cornerback Reggie Jones are primed to improve a secondary that allowed over 270 yards through the air to opponents per game last season, good enough for seventh in the Big Sky.
Despite a lack of household names along the defensive line, with juniors John Shackelford, Joe Ma’aseia and Jermaine Jacobs looking promising as transfers, Brown is confident that the Vikings 3-4 defense will prove to be solid.
“The D-line is a bit small, but what they lack in size they make up for in speed,” Brown said.
Seemingly everyone associated with the football program is aware that much of the Vikings’ success will be determined by how well the incoming slew of freshmen, redshirt or transfer players picks up the schemes in camp and executes once the season rolls around.
Schantz, often considered the team’s emotional and physical leader, said that a great amount of the responsibility for ensuring the younger players are prepared starts with the veterans bringing them up to speed.
“I like to pride myself on my football knowledge,” Schantz said. “I have to pass that on to these young guys.”
While Schantz is not willing to make any predictions as far as how quickly the younger players will absorb the schemes or how the Vikings will fare this upcoming season, he has a very strong message for the rest of the Big Sky.
“I think we’re better.”
Portland State pre-season schedulePortland State preseason schedule
Western OregonAug. 30, 1:05 p.m.PGE Park
UC DavisSept. 13, 7:05 p.m.Davis, Calif.
Washington StateSept. 20, 4 p.m.Pullman, Wash.