The legend of Mike Glennon, according to current Westfield football Coach Kyle Simmons, isn’t necessarily the undefeated run to the 2007 Virginia AAA Division 6 state title or the 32 touchdown passes Glennon threw that season, which was good for 11th-best in state history.
No, for Simmons, who was the Bulldogs’ defensive coordinator from 2006-2010, the crystal aura surrounding Glennon’s career was incapsulated on a single play — a fourth-and-four during the final minutes of the 2007 state semifinal against powerhouse Oscar Smith.
“I remember thinking this is the game,” Simmons recalled of the moment with the Bulldogs down 21-17. “Mikey takes the snap and throws a slant for a first down like it’s nothing. And then he goes on to throw the game-winning touchdown.”
“As a coach, you’re saying the season is teetering on this one play and he was so composed and prepared. For him, it was just another play.”
Perhaps it’s this poise in the pocket that made the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, stuck at 0-3 and deep in discord, comfortable benching struggling starter Josh Freeman and naming the rookie Glennon as their new starting quarterback for Sunday’s game against the Arizona Cardinals.
Glennon’s size and arm strength have always drawn attention from coaches and scouts. His field vision is aided by his 6-foot-7 frame and his arm strength yielded big numbers during his day at Westfield, where he was named 2007 All-Met Offensive Player of the Year, and at N.C. State.
“He’s got an extremely strong arm and that helped us in 2007 when we got good with the quick game for our offense,” Simmons said. “When you put Mikey’s talent and mind together, he’s hard to defend. And having to compete against him in practice really helped prepare our defense for a great team like Oscar Smith and the other opponents we faced during that state title run.”
When the news broke Wednesday that Freeman would be benched in favor of Glennon, Simmons said his phone immediately began blowing up with messages about one of Westfield’s greatest players. As Sunday draws closer, Simmons knows there will be plenty of pressure on Glennon, who is tasked with turning around Tampa Bay’s season from its current dead-end route. But it’s a role for which he believes Glennon is well-equipped.
“I would say there’ll probably be some bumps in the road, but I know Mikey will make sure he’s prepared for any adversity or situation,” Simmons said. “He’s got what it takes to improve the team and improve himself for the long haul.”