Kalani Simpson

"We're going to have more fun than we've ever had," coach June Jones, left, said of himself and defensive coordinator Jerry Glanville.

comes out blitzing

GAME day against No. 1 USC is Saturday. But we've already seen Jerry Glanville's first blitz.

This was yesterday, at the Honolulu Quarterback Club, where he shared the stage with his head coach, June Jones, and UH interim president David McClain, who has been campaigning to ban alcohol for Hawaii games at Aloha Stadium.

"President, great to hear your words," Glanville says. "And because of all the work the president's done, I am not going to drink before the game."


"No promises when it's over," Glanville says.


And there it is. Out of nowhere. We've been bowled over, like some unfortunate quarterback on the wrong end of a bloody-nose blitz.

But in a good way.

This year, we're excited about the start of football season. Yes, we're always excited about the start of football season. But last winter, there were a few reasons why we might not be quite so excited, this time.

Hawaii's defense got run up and down the field last year. Most of the offense would have to be rebuilt. Tim Chang is gone. Chad Owens is gone. The schedule -- highlighted by this weekend's visit by the national champs -- brutal.

People started bracing themselves.

They weren't sure what was going to happen next.

But then something happened.

Glanville happened.

"It's great to be here," he says. "I'm kind of mad at June because I was on my way, as everybody knows, to Aberdeen, S. D., (to coach Division II Northern State), and last week they opened up and at halftime they were up 48-0.

"And I said, 'Look what you did to me, June.' And June said, 'Well, I know one thing, if you were there they'd be ahead 3-0.' So he's probably right. It's great to be here."

Maybe it's just new attitude. Maybe just a little fresh air.

Maybe we're still waiting to see exactly what it means.

But something happened.

So now here we are. USC still looks just as formidable. Five players in Hawaii's offensive lineup Saturday will have never started a game. A lot of these defenders are the same guys who just went No. 117 against the run.

We aren't sure what's going to happen next.

But in a good way.

Now, suddenly, this is going to be interesting. No matter what happens now, we know, this season is going to be fun.

"June told me when I came here there was a flight ticket waiting for me at the airport," Glanville says. "He did not tell me who we opened up with. He didn't tell me the carpet in my coach's office, I have animals growing in my carpet. He didn't tell me that.

"But I did say, 'Do I have to wear a shirt with flowers?' And he said no, so I said, 'I'm on my way.' "

And away we go.

Even Jones seems rejuvenated by the whole thing.

So here's Glanville, already blitzing. He's won the crowd. He's won over the kids. We're headed for game day, full speed ahead. No matter what happens next, it's going to be fun.

"And now we're sliding into the mode of passion, loving what we're doing," Glanville says.

"And if USC knew what I knew," he says, savoring the moment before a Quarterback Club crowd, "they wouldn't bring their butt over to this island."


An explosion.

The house comes down.

Jones loves having Glanville back at his side. He doesn't know if they'll win as many games together as they ever have. "But we're going to have more fun than we've ever had," Jones says.

So now it's Jones' turn. He follows old boss/new assistant to the mic. It's a tough act to follow. Glanville has just happened.

Jones offers a rascal smile. He knows his friend's tendencies, has studied his game for years. Jones is ready. He's scripted his first play.

About Jerry's last joke?

"We were driving over here," Jones says, "he said something to me that, he hopes they don't bring the horse -- it might die of exhaustion."


The last laugh. The biggest blitz.

Everybody's picking his game up a notch.

See the Columnists section for some past articles.

Kalani Simpson can be reached at ksimpson@starbulletin.com

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