Glanville thinks ‘D’ is hitting its stride
The UH coordinator would like to be starting season now
If Jerry Glanville had his way, the Hawaii football team would be just starting its season rather than heading toward its conclusion.
The Warriors enter tomorrow's Western Athletic Conference game at Nevada coming off a spirited defensive effort against nationally ranked Fresno State last week, and had several key players return from injuries over the last few weeks.
So although the UH defensive coordinator is focused on preparing the Warriors to face a unique Wolf Pack offense, it's hard to blame him for contemplating what might have been.
"I wish we could start all over playing like we're playing now," Glanville said prior to the team's departure for its final road trip of the season.
But college football seasons don't come with mulligans and the Warriors (3-5, 3-3 WAC) have turned their attention to playing a Nevada team in contention for the conference title at 4-3 overall and 3-1 in the WAC.
Injuries and inexperience have hampered UH throughout the campaign, but several key players are healthy again and Glanville saw much to build on in last week's 27-13 loss to Fresno State. UH gave up 445 total yards, with 185 coming on three big plays that resulted in or led to Bulldog scores.
"It came down to three plays," Glanville said. "We made three errors and that was three touchdowns. You take away three plays and they played as good as they can play."
The Warriors will try to build on that performance against a Nevada offense -- dubbed "the pistol" -- that ranks second in the WAC in passing and features the conference's second-leading rusher in running back B.J. Mitchell.
In the scheme, Wolf Pack quarterback Jeff Rowe lines up a few yards off the line of scrimmage with Mitchell directly behind him. Three receivers stretch the secondary across the field, opening lanes for Mitchell, who averages 95.4 yards per game.
"It's a short shotgun. ... So he can run the power plays to the right or the left after he takes the snap," Glanville said. "They want to run that power game and they do a good job of it."
The UH defense will be bolstered by the return of cornerback Kenny Patton to the starting lineup, finally giving Glanville the corner combination he envisioned during fall camp.
Patton and Turmarian Moreland were expected to be the starting tandem prior to the season, but various ailments kept them from starting in the same defensive backfield until this week.
Patton started UH's first six games despite having knee surgery during camp, but shoulder and quadriceps injuries kept him on the sidelines the last two weeks.
Moreland also worked his way back from an early-season knee injury and has four interceptions over the last three weeks. Defensive end Melila Purcell also returned from injury last week.
"It would have been great if we looked like this the whole time," Glanville said. "This week was the first time since his knee surgery that Kenny Patton looked like he did in the preseason.
"It's amazing. It took us how many weeks? But we're lucky to get people back."
On the Slye: After getting an eligibility issue resolved, Jordan Slye has rejoined the Warriors receiver rotation and head coach June Jones said the 6-foot-4 junior will share time at left-side receiver with Chad Mock against the Wolf Pack.
Slye gives UH a different look at receiver as the Warriors' four starting wideouts are 5-11 and under.
"He and Chad will rotate in there. He's a good player and a bigger guy," Jones said. "He's got a little quickness for a big guy."
Slye, a transfer from Compton (Calif.) Community College, caught two passes for 29 yards and scored on a 2-point conversion against Boise State, then sat out the next three games while his eligibility was reviewed. He was eventually cleared and returned to action against Fresno State.
"It was paperwork," Slye said. "We've got it all figured out, so now's the time to get out there and go."
Road Warriors: A victory tomorrow would give UH a winning road record for the fourth time in Jones' seven years as coach. It would also even his record in WAC road games to 13-13.
The Warriors are 2-2 on the road this season, with wins at Idaho and San Jose State and losses at Michigan State and Louisiana Tech.
"It's difficult to win on the road. We've managed it twice and now we have to do it one more time," Jones said.
Of course, that would mean winning in Reno for the first time after losing there in two previous trips (2001 and 2003).
By the numbers: The Warriors will wear the white jerseys with black numbers they debuted against San Jose State. Jones said earlier this week the team wouldn't use the new jerseys unless they were tapered, and the uniforms were altered in time for the trip.
The silver numbers on UH's original road uniforms drew complaints for being difficult to read.
Star-Bulletin reporter Dave Reardon contributed to this report.