CHENEY – He could be holed up in a Montlake office, preparing for the season opener against Air Force.
He could be starting up a new program, at a new college, in a new city.
Or he could be sitting in his Eastside home, wondering what the future might hold.
He could be just about anyplace right now, and yet Keith Gilbertson finds himself in one of this country’s less glamorous places. The former head football coach at the University of Washington is keeping his football dream alive in the heat and tedium of Cheney.
“It beats not going anywhere in August,” he said Friday. “I’ll tell you that.”
Gilbertson began his new career as an offensive consultant for the Seattle Seahawks on Friday, assisting Bill Laveroni with the offensive line. Gilbertson was hired earlier this month to add another experienced offensive mind to the coaching staff.
“He’s a good coach with a lot of experience,” head coach Mike Holmgren said. “He knows the game. I always thought that he was thrust in kind of a tough spot in his last head coaching position (at UW).
“I know what kind of coach he is. He’s a good guy, and he knows the guys on our staff already. Heck, I thought it would be easy for us to find some stuff for him to do that would help us.”
Because he is on a volunteer basis, Gilbertson holds the official title of offensive consultant. It’s a description with which he’s not entirely comfortable.
“They don’t need any consulting from me on anything; they’re doing just fine without me,” Gilbertson said. “My role is to learn what they do, how they do it, what makes it work. … I’m not a consultant, I’m an assistant.”
Gilbertson spent the past two seasons as head coach at UW, where he compiled a 7-16 record. Last November, the Snohomish native announced his intentions to step down at the end of the season. The Huskies eventually finished with a 1-10 record.
While his head coaching record is mediocre – Gilbertson was 55-51 in stops at UW, Cal and Idaho – he has been a successful offensive assistant at both the college and pro level.
Seven years after leaving the Seahawks, he’s back in the NFL.
“It was great,” Gilbertson said after his first practice of the 2005 training camp. “I like coaching, I like being on the field, and I like teaching. This is a great group of guys to work with and the athletes are great. So I enjoyed the heck out of it. It’s nice just to be able to go out and coach football.”
Hamlin out until late August: The recovery from shoulder surgery has taken longer than originally expected, so free safety Ken Hamlin will probably be unavailable until the week of the Aug. 27 preseason game.
Hamlin was one of a few projected starters who missed summer minicamps due to injury. Cornerback Marcus Trufant (shoulder), defensive tackle Rashad Moore (shoulder) and guard Steve Hutchinson (shoulder) are among those who returned for the first day of training camp Friday.
While Hamlin worked with trainers on an opposite field, Marquand Manuel started alongside strong safety Michael Boulware in the Seattle secondary.
Also present but unavailable were starting defensive tackle Cedric Woodard (recovering from knee surgery), special teams ace Alex Bannister (out until the end of August due to a broken clavicle) and rookie linebacker Cornelius Wortham (strained hamstring).
Moving on without Boulware: Without getting specific, Seahawks team president Tim Ruskell sounded Friday like Seattle is no longer interested in free agent defensive end/linebacker Peter Boulware.
“Some of the candidates that were out there, it wasn’t the answer when we did our evaluation and our research on those guys,” Ruskell said when asked about Seattle’s pass rush. “But we are not going to stop looking and constantly looking for someone to pressure the passer.”
Boulware missed all of last season with a knee injury, yet the Seahawks brought him in for a visit and later attended a private workout.
Easing them in: The Seahawks are taking a slightly different philosophy into this year’s camp. They won’t put on pads until next week.
“We are all anxious, as coaches and fans, to see them bang around in pads,” Holmgren said. “(But) I thought we could do this for a couple days, get some good work in, certainly acclimate the young guys to what we are doing and still really not miss anything.
“If they work the way they worked today, which was fast and hard, that will be fine.”
Quick slants: Trufant has been moved from the left to the right side to accommodate new corners Andre Dyson and Kelly Herndon, both of whom are more comfortable on the left side. … Backup quarterback Seneca Wallace continued to work on his return game, handling punts along with Bobby Engram, Taco Wallace, Maurice Morris and Marque Davis. … Seneca Wallace and wide receiver Jerheme Urban connected on the best play of Friday’s morning practice. Urban adjusted to a long pass from Wallace to beat cornerback Andre Dyson for a touchdown. … Fullback R.J. Luke and center Joey Hollenbeck, who were on the practice squad last season but were hobbled by injuries during the summer, are no longer with the team. … Punter Ryan Dutton (shin) and cornerback Kevin House (broken forearm) did not attend Friday’s practice but are still on the roster.