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.
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
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
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
Quarterback Rating: 8
- 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.
- 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.
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
- 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.
- 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
- 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
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
- Caleb Spencer, Sr. - 67 catches, 889 yds, 13.3 ypc, 7
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
- 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
- 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
- Tight end Adam Bishop, Jr. - 7 catches, 48 yds, 6.9 ypc,
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.
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
- 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.
- 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.