DENNIS ODA / DODA@STARBULLETIN.COM
UH defensive coordinator Jerry Glanville, left, and associate head coach George Lumpkin studied tape on Friday.
Glanville in step for spring
» Hawaii's defensive coordinator is hitting the film, preparing for his first full spring camp
» UH spring football practice begins Tuesday. Today, a look at the Warriors defense. Tomorrow, the offense.
Jerry Glanville returned to Hawaii last week from his home near Atlanta, ready to start his second season as Warriors defensive coordinator. Running backs coach Mouse Davis was among those to greet him at the airport.
"Mouse tried to pick up my bag, but he had a hard time, it was so heavy," Glanville said. "He said, 'I know what's in there. Film.' I probably do a minimum of 4 hours of film every day. I look at prospects for 2007 every day."
Those who like to read the tea leaves optimistically might have the year-to-year Glanville committed for a third season after that statement. If the man's going to invest that much effort in the future, he'll be around for it, right?
Well, maybe. If the former NFL head coach gets the right offer to run his own show again in the pro ranks or at a high-profile college, don't be surprised if he takes it. But that won't -- and, realistically, can't -- happen until Glanville finishes the job at UH for his former assistant, Warriors head coach June Jones. That means building a defense of which the high-powered run-and-shoot offense can be proud.
Spring practice starts Tuesday, and the biggest need is for the UH defense to build a base to improve on last year's dismal showing.
The numbers on the try-to-stop side weren't pretty for the Warriors last fall. UH went 5-7 despite an offense that generated the 11th-most yards in Division I last year, 476.17 per game. The defense gave up 438.42 yards per game -- 102nd of 117 teams.
Glanville promises improvement.
"We're all so much better than a year ago," said Glanville, who joined the Warriors staff during last year's spring camp and immediately introduced his 3-4 base alignment. "We're coming down running. We wanted to get there a year ago, but I think we can now. I can tell already everybody is light years from where we were."
The biggest experiments on the defense this year are in the secondary. After two years as a reserve safety, junior A.J. Martinez moves to cornerback to try to make up for the move of three-year starter Kenny Patton to receiver. And junior Brad Kalilimoku, who started at inside linebacker last year, will try out at strong safety.
"The good news for Brad is he's a player," Glanville said. "The deal I told him is to try at strong safety. And if he doesn't like it and we don't like it, we'll try him at outside linebacker. We know he can play inside. This forces us to give us some time to look at Adam Leonard and Brashton Satele.
"Those two cats will end up being football players. We don't have a lot of strong safeties. For the spring, we need 20 (Dane Porlas) and 30 (Michael Malala) to become players at free safety and strong safety. I told them I want to be able to put you in and not have to watch you. It's about having a good second line. We've got to have guys who play as good as the first line, have a second line ready to go."
Here is a layer-by-layer look at the Warriors defense two days before the start of spring drills:
Returning starters: DEs Mel Purcell and Ikaika Alama-Francis, NT Michael Lafaele
Other contributors: DEs Karl Noa and Renolds Fruean, NTs Lawrence Wilson, Keala Watson
On the cusp: NTs Fale Laeli, Rocky Savaiigaea
Workout monster: Wilson benched 500 pounds at team testing last week.
Big question: Who will be the new defensive line coach since Vantz Singletary left? Overqualified graduate assistant Jeff Reinebold appears to have the inside track.
Returning starters: ILB Solomon Elimimian
Other contributors: ILBs Adam Leonard and Timo Paepule
On the cusp: ILB Brashton Satele, OLBs John Fonoti, Tyson Kafentzis, Khevin Peoples, C.J. Allen-Jones
Workout monster: Peoples put on 15 pounds of solid muscle since the end of last season.
Big question: Is Leonard's reconstructed knee finally strong enough for a full season? If it is, he and Elimimian could be an All-WAC tandem as sophomores.
Returning starters: FS Leonard Peters (pending approval of NCAA appeal for additional season), SS Brad Kalilimoku (moved from ILB)
Other contributors: SS Dane Porlas, FS Michael Malala
On the cusp: CBs A.J. Martinez, JoPierre Davis
Workout monster: Martinez ran a 4.41 40.
Big question: Everything, starting with Peters' eligibility, Kalilimoku's versatility and Martinez's and Davis' adaptability.