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Glanville Enjoys Keeping Them Loose : Oilers: Coach marches to beat of his own drummer, but he gets results and his players like playing for him.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

A study in black, Coach Jerry Glanville of the Houston Oilers prowls the sideline at the Astrodome, which is called the House of Pain by Oiler players.

The Oiler colors are powder blue and red, but Glanville doesn’t wear either. His ensemble for Sunday’s game against the Raiders consisted of custom-made black cowboy boots, black pants with a silver belt buckle almost as big as the Lombardi Trophy, a black shirt with the Oiler logo on the chest and a rat stitched on the sleeve.

Why does he wear black?

“So people can spot me on the sidelines,” Glanville said.

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Asked if he minded if Glanville wears black, Oiler owner Bud Adams said that the coach could wear black underwear, too.

Although the Oilers try to intimidate opponents like the Raiders of old, Glanville insists that Oilers aren’t the new Raiders.

“We’re the new Oilers,” he said.

In a sport where coaches roll off an assembly line that removes any individuality, Glanville is eccentric.

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“You’re only here for a hiccup and you might as well have some fun,” Glanville said in a Texas drawl.

Glanville has loads of fun.

“You never think he’s serious, but deep down he’s serious,” said Drew Hill, the Oilers’ injured wide receiver.

Glanville serious? Be serious!

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The stories of Glanville leaving tickets for dead celebrities like Elvis Presley and James Dean are legend.

Although Glanville has stopped leaving the tickets at the request of Adams, he hasn’t lost his sense of humor.

“Elvis was here today. I saw him in the south end zone,” Glanville said with a laugh. But Glanville wasn’t laughing after the Oilers got off to a 2-3 start this season. There were whispers that his job was on the line because the team was playing so poorly.

Did Glanville believe he was under fire?

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“No,” he said. “I don’t think there’s many guys in this league who have worked on an assembly line and carried 100-pound flower bags. People tell me I’ve got a tough job, but this job is a lot easier than where I used to work.”

Yet, if Glanville’s critics had their way, he would have been back on the assembly line after the Oilers’ slow start.

“I put a great deal of pressure on myself,” he said. “Nobody within the organization has ever put pressure on me. But every good football coach, whether he’s a head coach or an assistant coach, puts pressure on himself.”

But Glanville has managed to stay ahead of the lynch mob.

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The Oilers have climbed back into title contention in the AFC Central by winning five of their last six and three straight, including Sunday’s 23-7 victory over the Raiders.

Although the three-game winning streak is the longest in Glanville’s four-year tenure as head coach, he isn’t overjoyed.

“You don’t have time to enjoy it much,” Glanville said. “We won’t sleep tonight. We never allow anyone to go to sleep if we win. You’ve got to stay up all night.”

The Oilers like Glanville’s loose style.

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“He’s a different bird,” said Oiler guard Bruce Matthews. “He’s not afraid to be himself. We all have our quirks, but his are more obvious. He likes to do his own thing. And if we keep winning like we are now it’s fine with me.”

What’s it like to play for Glanville?

“No comment,” quarterback Warren Moon said with a laugh.

Moon and Glanville clashed after Glanville replaced Hugh Campbell as the Oiler head coach with two games remaining in the 1985 season. Moon thought that he had no place in Glanville’s conservative, run-oriented offense.

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They’ve settled their differences and Moon is allowed to pass at will.

Moon, who completed 20 of 30 passes for 249 yards and two touchdowns against the Raiders, has passed for over 200 yards in nine of his last 10 games.

“I think he’s a great quarterback,” said wide receiver Curtis Duncan, who caught a 25-yard touchdown pass from Moon. “He’s having another Pro Bowl year.”

The only mistake Moon made was throwing an interception to kill a first-quarter drive. While scrambling, he double-pumped and tried to force a pass that was intercepted by Mike Harden.

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But Moon more than made up for throwing the interception. He even threw a block to spring running back Mike Rozier.

“I’ll do whatever it takes to win,” Moon said. “I’m going to be smart, but I realized that I wasn’t going to get hurt by trying to cut somebody. The worst thing that can happen to me is that somebody might fall on me.”


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