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Nevada Preview 2006 - Offense
Nevada Wolf Pack
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Aug 9, 2006


Nevada Wolf Pack Preview 2006 - Nevada Wolf Pack Offense

What you need to know ... The offense is known for its wide open passing, but it has an effective ground game that provides more balance than you might expect. The running attack likely won't be more effective than the passing game for a second straight year without leading rusher B.J. Mitchell, but Robert Hubbard is ready to take over the number one role. Jeff Rowe will be one of the nation's most effective all-around quarterbacks with a deep and experienced receiving corps to throw to, but it could all unravel if injuries strike at tackle.

Returning Leaders
Passing: Jeff Rowe
241-380, 2,925 yds, 21 TD, 10 INT
Rushing: Robert Hubbard
122 carries, 719 yds, 11 TD
Receiving: Caleb Spencer
67 catches, 889 yds, 7 TD

Star of the offense: Senior QB Jeff Rowe
Player that has to step up and become a star: Sophomore G Greg Hall
Unsung star on the rise: Sophomore WR Mike McCoy
Best pro prospect: Rowe
Top three all-star candidates: 1) Rowe, 2) RB Robert Hubbard, 3) WR Caleb Spencer
Strength of the offense: Receiving corps, experience
Weakness of the offense:
Tackle, running back depth

Quarterbacks
Jeff Rowe has All-America capabilities with great mobility and an accurate arm. He knows the offense backwards and forwards and should put up huge numbers as long as he can stay healthy. Nick Graziano has a great high school résumé and has to become a polished backup right away with number two man Travis Moore trying to return from an injured shoulder tendon.
The key to the unit: Keeping Jeff Rowe healthy and getting Nick Graziano meaningful reps so he can get his feet wet.
Quarterback Rating: 8

Projected Starter
- Jeff Rowe, Sr. - 241-380, 62%, 2,925 yds, 21 TD, 10 INT, 119 carries, 244 yds, 6 TD
Rowe came through with a phenomenal season able to make defenses pay when the ground game was heating up and able to spread the ball around well to his vast array of talented receivers. He's a big 6-5, 225-pound passer with a live arm and great mobility; he finished third on the team in rushing yards. His problem in the past has been with interceptions, but he had only one major meltdown last year throwing four against Boise State and six against everyone else.

Top Backups
- Nick Graziano, RFr.
The 230-pound Graziano threw for almost 6,000 yards and 71 scores over his last two seasons at Campolindo High in California. He has a big deep arm and should grow into a good decision maker with more practice time. He'll go into the season as the number three man unless Travis Moore can't get past a shoulder injury.
- Travis Moore, Sr. - 8-16, 73 yds, 1 INT, 7 carries, 26 yds
Moore knows the offense and has been a reliable backup over the last few years. He's not as big as Jeff Rowe and isn't going to run for big yards, but he's not immobile. The real key will be his health as he's iffy at best for the start of the season after tearing a shoulder tendon lifting weights.

Running Backs
Robert Hubbard had better be ready to roll after suffering a hernia injury or there could be problems. B.J. Mitchell and his 1,399 yards and 12 touchdowns are gone, but Hubbard can pick up the slack and be a top producer if healthy. The question is the number two back needing several unproven talents to come through right away to add more bodies for the rotation. 
The key to the unit: Get big-time production from Kyle Eklund and Mike Kanellis and hope Luke Lippincott can be a steady power runner.
Running Back Rating: 6.5

Projected Starters
- Robert Hubbard, Sr, - 122 carries, 741 yds, 5.9 ypc, 11 TD, 12 catches, 112 yds, 2 TD
While technically a backup last year behind WAC Player of the Year B.J. Mitchell, Hubbard was hardly a second-teamer late in the season rushing for 146 yards and three touchdown against Fresno State and 126 yards and a score against UCF. He missed time this off-season with a hernia, but he'll be ready to roll this fall as a near-certain 1,000-yard rusher with home run hitting speed and good toughness in a wiry 5-11 frame. He can be even more dangerous when used in the passing game.

Top Backups
- Kyle Eklund, Sr. - 3 carries, -4 yds
Mostly a special teamer so far, the small, quick back will need to play a big role as the number two runner in the rotation. He got a lot of work with the first team with Robert Hubbard out this spring with a hernia injury, and now he should be ready to handle more of the workload.
- Mike Kanellis, RFr.
The Nevada high school player of the year is a talented runner who'll get every chance to take over the number two job. He has more skills than Kyle Eklund and should add a little bit more power.
- Luke Lippincott, Soph.
Originally a safety, the 6-2, 215-pound sophomore will be the big back in the mix as the only big option in a group of quick backs.

Receivers
Five of the team's top six receivers return only losing Nichiren Flowers. Mike McCoy isn't Flowers, but he should be a productive replacement with Caleb Spencer and Kyle Sammons taking the heat off. The tight end situation is excellent with All-WAC Anthony Pudewell returning to be even more involved in the offense. There's good depth with more on the way with Marko Mitchell coming in from the JUCO ranks. 
The key to the unit: Getting production out of Mike McCoy and developing receivers to be ready to take over next year when Caleb Spencer and Kyle Sammons are gone.
Receiver Rating: 7

Projected Starters
- Caleb Spencer, Sr. - 67 catches, 889 yds, 13.3 ypc, 7 TD
Spencer went from being a nice complementary receiver to a number one target overtaking Nichiren Flowers. The former JUCO transfer isn't all that big and he doesn't have lightning speed, but he's consistent and he can get hot catching 12 passes for 149 yards against UNLV and 11 for 114 yards in the bowl win over UCF. While not necessarily a big play target, he's tough to handle from the inside Z position.

- Kyle Sammons, Sr. - 27 catches, 375 yds, 13.9 ypc, 2 TD
The former JUCO all-star turned into a solid field stretcher as the number three receiver. He has some of the best wheels on the team and should put up big numbers flying from the X position. He exploded on Colorado State for 103 yards and a touchdown on seven catches, but he had a hard time getting the ball on a regular basis the rest of the way.

- Mike McCoy, Soph. - 17 catches, 230 yds, 13.5 ypc, 1 TD
The 6-0, 190-pound sophomore was a solid reserve last season coming on to be a factor late in the year. He has good speed and great hands, and now he'll look to fill the void left by Nichiren Flowers.

- Tight end Anthony Pudewell, Sr. - 27 catches, 308 yds, 11.4 ypc, 2 TD
At the Y, Nevada's version of the tight end, Pudewell earned All-WAC honors as a steady receiver and a punishing run blocker. He didn't become a target around the goal line until late in the season. That should change as he becomes even more involved in the attack posing matchup problems with his speed and 240-pound size.

Top Backups
- Jack Darlington, Soph. - 15 catches, 165 yds, 11 ypc, 1 TD
A steady backup with good deep speed, the 6-2, 190-pound sophomore will be an even more dangerous threat behind Caleb Spencer at the Z. He's one of the team's biggest receivers and isn't afraid to use his size across the middle.
- Arthur King Jr., RFr.
Recruited as both a defensive back and a wide receiver, the 6-1 King will be a physical backup behind Mike McCoy at the F position.
- Tight end Adam Bishop, Jr. - 7 catches, 48 yds, 6.9 ypc, 1 TD
A bit bigger than Anthony Pudewell and with decent hands, the 6-4, 245-pound Bishop will battle with Jeremy Scott and Travis Branzell for the number two tight end job.

Offensive Linemen
Three starters return to a line that was physically dominant at times in the running game but struggled to provide consistent pass protection. Guard Barrett Reznick is the best of the bunch and should make a few All-WAC teams again, while Charles Manu has all-star potential at tackle. Developing reliable depth is the big project, but there are plenty of big bodies to work with.
The key to the unit: Getting strong play from the tackles and developing Dominic Green on the weakside. The JUCO tackle talents much come through this year to provide some quality depth.
Offensive Line Rating: 6

Projected Starters
- OT Charles Manu, Jr.
Manu stepped in and started right off the bat coming over from the JUCO ranks. He's a big 300-pound blocker at strong tackle, but he needs to improve his pass protection. Run blocking isn't an issue.
- OG Barrett Reznick, Sr.
One of the rocks on the line, Reznick is back for his third year starting at strong guard. He's a great run blocker who earned All-WAC honors as the main man opening up holes on the inside. He plays even stronger than his 6-1 and 285 pounds.
- C Jimmy Wadhams, Sr.
The 290-pound senior has been a strong all-around blocker, but now he has to come back healthy after tearing his ACL in the middle of last season. The former walk-on improved steadily before the injury and isn't expected to have any problems by fall.
- OG Greg Hall, Soph.
Hall has to go from being a big backup to one of the team's most reliable players. Nevada is thin at tackle, so it needs the 285-pound sophomore to be a big-time producer at guard so no one has to move over.
- OT Dominic Green, Soph.
Green can play either tackle or guard starting last year at weak guard. He'll move one spot over to use his experience to try to become a top tackle. He's a mauling run blocker, but he has to prove he can handle the speedier pass rushers on a consistent basis.

Top Backups
- OT A.J. Slater, Jr.
The JUCO transfer will play a big role right away in the rotation. At 300 pounds, he's a bigger option than Dominic Green at weak tackle and could move Green to guard with a strong showing this summer. He'll go into fall practices behind Charles Manu on the strongside.
- C/OT Reid Jacobs, Sr.
Jacobs was a JUCO All-American with tremendous athleticism and good size. Now he has to produce. He'll start out at center and could move to tackle if he's more consistent.

Related Stories
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Nevada Preview 2006 - Further Analysis
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Nevada Preview 2006 - Depth Chart
 -by CollegeFootballNews.com  Aug 9, 2006








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