Mouse would crank up fun factor

On Sports

Mouse Davis still isn't sure he's going to join Jerry Glanville at Portland State.

But I made up my mind to write about Davis, anyway. He will interview Monday for PSU's offensive coordinator job.

It's been so many years since he's been visible in these parts a lot of people don't know him or what he's done. And the reason Davis isn't sure about working at PSU speaks a lot to who he is.

'I won't come if I can't work a deal with Jerry that I can run what I run - not some watered-down thing,' Davis said. 'What I was doing for (Hawaii coach) June Jones was pretty minimal. I want to have a bigger piece of the action.'

What he was talking about, obviously, is control of the offense. And if you've never seen Davis at the controls of an offense, well - all I can tell you is he's unique. Everyone knows by now he's the one who popularized the double-slot, one-back, no tight end, 'run-and-shoot' attack. Yeah, well - that's not so unique, anymore, right?

Except with Davis it's a whole lot more than just a formation. It's been his entire football life. He spread the gospel of a sophisticated, all-out commitment to a passing attack from the pros to the colleges and back, indoors and out, giving birth to all sorts of offshoots and variations.

But unless Mouse is along for the ride, you don't get the whole package - which includes more than the usual assortment of gambling, trick plays, gimmicks, gadgets and overall fun stuff.

And yet it's his personality that actually makes it all work.

The guy is a real beauty - a charming combination of swagger, sincerity, humor and smarts. It usually takes a group of offensive players about 30 seconds to buy into what he's selling - which is a message of fun and winning.

'Touchdowns are pretty fun,' he says with a laugh.

And he's gone into so many programs and had success that he's not at all mystified about what it takes and how it's done.

'This is not nuclear physics - it's way more important than that,' he says. 'As you go along, at every stop - and I've had several stops since Portland State - you tweak it a little … get it operating more smoothly. But it isn't like it's the first time you're putting it together. You're not looking for a bunch of different ideas.

'That's part of the juice of doing it again - having some fun and getting some of those touchdowns … putting it together and ringing up the scoreboard.'

All of that depends on the talent at hand, of course. Davis was quick to point that out. He knew nothing of the quarterback-receiver situation at Portland State. But in my long memory of Davis, he either develops someone from within or a great one just shows up. I mean, if you want to throw the football - don't you want to work for a coach whose quarterback (Neil Lomax) once threw seven TD passes - in one quarter?

'It's really not fair,' Davis says. 'All the advantages are with the offense in today's game. You just have to execute. That's really what it's about - execution.'

I remember Davis once in his first season at Portland State, standing in front of a booster luncheon talking about an upcoming Big Sky Conference team that was heavily favored against the Vikings. Back before anyone really understood the potential of his offense.

'They play a three-deep secondary,' Davis said with the sneer of a man who knew his team wasn't getting its proper respect. 'And we have one rule at Portland State: three deep, we win.'

And, of course, they did - with 165-pound slotbacks running free of ponderous linebackers 20 yards down the field.

As excited as PSU fans are about Glanville, they better be just as pumped about the possible return of the Mouse. He's truly one of a kind.

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