“Bright lights city gonna set my soul, gonna set my soul on fire. I gotta whole lotta money that’s ready…oh wait, never mind, this is University of Nevada, not Nevada-Las Vegas. Oh, we’re not doing UNLV this year? They didn’t make the cut?
Well the Nevada Wolfpack hometown of Reno may not be as exciting as Vega$, but at least they have a high-rollin’ big winnin’ college football team that still managed to crack the 77 in 77 despite losing their best player, Colin Kaepernick in school history. Ewing Theory anyone?
By Paul M. Banks
2010 was: a royal flush, black jack, or basically college football’s answer to a conga line given all the joy in Reno. The Pack was just a six point slip-up in Hawaii from running the table. The greatest season in school history was capped by the big upset for Boise St. that commanded national attention. now with the Broncos off to the Mountain West, the WAC is there for the taking; unless Hawaii bests them again.
BMOCs: QB Tyler Lantrip (steppin in for Kaepernick, the shoes better be big, cuz there’s a whole lot of room to be filled), RB Mike Ball, WR Rishard Matthews, S Duke Williams, LB James-Michael Johnson, WR Brandon Wimberly
2011 will be fruitful if: The Wolfpack find a way to replace the production of Kaepernick (most passing TDs, rushing TDs in school history) and Vai Taua (5,159 yards rushing, 53 TDs in his career). The latter will be much easier than the former, as Ball looks and acts the part. If Lantrip fails, then redshirt freshman Cody Fajardo could step in easily- as he’s a Kaepernick style dual threat.
2011 will be awful if: The defense doesn’t take as big a step forward as people anticipate it will. There are lots of starters returning on both sides of the ball, but the D will need to set the tone early while the O breaks in new starters at the skill positions, but also in the leadership department. Also since Nevada looked much more like a big boy program last year, they now have a big boy schedule. It will be very difficult to duplicate last year’s 13-1.
Bottom Line: It all starts by figuring out who becomes the heir apparent to the QB drafted by the San Francisco 49ers. Colin Kaepernick was the first QB in NCAA history to pass for the 10,000 yards and run for 4,000. Paired with Taua, they were the most prolific rushing duo in NCAA history. To get “wiggidy-wiggidy-wiggidy-WAC” they’ll need to knock off Hawaii and Fresno State. Luckily, they get both those opponents at home, so a conference crown and a 7th consecutive postseason date looks very likely.
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