Glenn's enthusiasm still high three weeks from opener

Updated: August 8, 2003, 11:30 PM ET

LARAMIE, Wyo. -- Another milestone arrived for Joe Glenn: his first media day as head coach of the Wyoming football team -- and the enthusiasm meter is still pegging.

"To say we're excited would be an understatement," he told about 40 reporters and several dozen school officials and boosters gathered at the Rochelle Athletics Center on Friday.

He deflected as much attention from himself as possible, spending much of the lunch hour praising his assistants, who have collected 25 national championship rings among them.

"That says volumes right now about what kind of guys are on this football staff," Glenn said.

That staff has won national championships at NCAA Division I-AA Montana and Division II Northern Colorado (twice), but they face a yeoman task in turning around the beleaguered Cowboys, who have won only five games and lost 29 over the last three years.

Glenn was hired Dec. 12, 2002, and ran his first practice March 31, 2003, as part of spring drills. Fall camp started Wednesday, and the next big red-letter date is Aug. 30, when Montana State visits to open the 2003 season.

"Needless to say it's real exciting, and the challenge has been fun for the kids and the coaches. We're looking forward to August 30th," he said.

Earlier in the day, he put the team through its third practice of the fall, and first in pads. Glenn agreed that with the opener looming three weeks away, the intensity level has picked up.

"Sure, you've got a game coming up, so there's a sense of urgency," he said. "It's huge."

Media day is also picture day, and the 101 players and 13 coaches spent much of the afternoon lining up for photos, including a group shot in the lower west stands.

"It's neat. It's the first time I've seen our kids in a game uniform," Glenn said. It brought "goose bumps, and the hair on my neck is standing up a little bit."

Glenn is working with 46 returning lettermen, including seven starters back on both offense and defense from last year's 2-10 team.

While the offense could move the ball at times last season, the defense was consistently porous, ranking 114th of 117 Division I schools and giving up 491 yards a game.

But the coach has complete confidence in defensive coordinator Mike Breske. The two have been together 17 years.

"When we went to Montana, they didn't know what defense was -- pass, pass, pass -- and all of a sudden we became one of the top defenses in I-AA and one of the top in Montana history," Glenn said.

Improving the UW defense will mean a change in offensive philosophy -- holding on to the ball longer to give the defense a rest.

"You can't throw the ball 60, 70 times without huddling up. You keep your defense off the field with some time-consuming drives," he said. "We think it's going to help our defense, but I see our defense coming along anyway."

He is particularly pleased with the strides shown by the secondary, particularly Roderrick Jackson, Chris Dixon and Jacque Finn, but also freshmen Derrick Martin and Terrell Vinson and transfer Terrance Butler.

"We just seem to be really playing hard in the short time we've been in practice here, but I think our defense is maybe going to surprise us."

Offensively, the passing game returns largely intact. Quarterback Casey Bramlet, wide receivers Ryan McGuffey, Jovon Bouknight and Malcom Floyd and tight ends Aaron Robbins and Marshall Schaap are back.

"We're going to have a good passing game, but I just hope we can horse up our running game," Glenn said.

Junior nose guard Zach Morris said the players are pumped up.

"It's nice to have some good freshmen come in. ... We've heard a lot about these guys and they've really come out and shown us some good stuff," he said.

"Coaches are still great, real enthusiastic. It was nice to finally put on pads today because we got to hit a little bit and have some fun with it."

Junior center Trenton Franz said the atmosphere is much different this fall.

"It's been a total 180 this year. Guys are ready to go to practice," he said. "Guys are excited and ready to go hit people and get some good work done -- put it in the bank and hopefully we'll pull out that cash on the 30th, and take it to Montana State."

This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index