Monday, August 30, 2010
WAC 2010-Nevada Wolfpack
2009 Record: 8-5 (7-1)
Head Coach: Chris Ault (25th season, 206-96-1)
Offensive Coordinator: Ault and Cameron Norcross (8th season)
Defensive Coordinator: Andy Buh (1st season)
2009 Bowl Game: Hawaii Bowl, lost to SMU 45-10
Offense: The Pistol offense was firing away all last season, as the Pack finished 2nd nationally in total offense, but almost all of it came on the ground, as Nevada had 3 players all finish with 1000 yards rushing, an NCAA record. The Pack only finished 107th in passing last season, but that's not exactly a knock on Colin Kaeperick's ability as a QB. He is one of those 1000 yard rushers, as is returning RB Vai Taua, who is a semi truck running with the football. All 3 receivers return as does the TE, so the passing game should be more balanced in 2009 with the run game. Tray Session, Brandon Wimberly, and Chris Wellington all return at receiver, and Virgil Green was a 2nd team all WAC selection. 3 starters are back on the line.
Defense: Teams had a major problem running the ball against Nevada last season. That should not change as a bulk of the front 7 returns for another year. Ryan Coulson and Dontay Moch man the DE spots, while Zack Madonick returns at DT. Brett Roy is the leading candidate to start at the other DT spot, but he is undersized at 260. Moch was the WAC defensive MVP. Brandon Marshall and James-Michael Johnson return at LB, and the other spot should go to JC transfer DeAndre Boughton. The secondary was a very scary place for the Pack last season, and this unit got pillaged in the Hawaii Bowl by pass happy SMU. CB Isaiah Frey is the lone returnee in the group.
Special Teams: Ricky Draks returns at PK, but only attempted 9 FGs last season, making 6. He will have to be more accurate than 66.7% this season. Brad Langley had a solid year averaging 41.1 yards per punt.
Wins: 9/2 Eastern Washington, 9/11 Colorado State, 10/2 @ UNLV, 10/9 San Jose State, 10/16 @ Hawaii, 10/30 Utah State, 11/6 @ Idaho, 11/20 New Mexico State, 12/4 @ Louisiana Tech
Toss Up Games: 9/17 California, 9/25 @ BYU, 11/13 @ Fresno State
Losses: 11/26 Boise State
Nevada has some serious opportunities to break out in 2010. Wins against BYU and Cal would provide major exposure, and Boise comes to Reno in November. I don't see Nevada as being ready to challenge Boise outright, but if the Broncos have a bad night, one never knows. The game at Fresno should be difficult, but not unwinnable, but that too is a place where you don't want to be having a bad day.
Outlook: Nevada too will be leaving the WAC at the end of the season, even though the conference is trying to keep them for one more season. The Pack can definately move on and compete at a higher level. Nevada could potentially win 11 games this season, and still not get a sniff for anything better than a return trip to Hawaii for the bowl.