Nevada Wolf Pack
2008 CFN Nevada Preview
2008 Nevada Offense
2008 Nevada Defense
2008 Nevada Depth
2007 CFN Nevada Preview
Head coach: Chris Ault
24th year: 181-85-1
Off. 21, Def. 15, ST 1
Lettermen Lost: 14
Best Pack Players
1. RB Luke Lippincott, Sr.
2. LB Joshua Mauga, Sr.
3. C Dominic Green, Sr.
4. DE Kevin Basped, Soph.
5. QB Colin Kaepernick, Soph.
6. FS Jonathan Amaya, Jr.
7. WR Marko Mitchell, Sr.
8. QB Nick Graziano, Jr.
9. PK Brett Jaekle, Sr.
10. OT Mike Gallett, Soph.
Sept. 6 Texas Tech
Sept. 13 at Missouri
Sept. 20 OPEN DATE
Sept. 27 at UNLV
Oct. 4 at Idaho
Oct. 11 New Mexico State
Oct. 18 Utah State
Oct. 25 at Hawaii
Nov. 1 OPEN DATE
Nov. 7 at Fresno State
Nov. 15 San Jose State
Nov. 22 Boise State
Nov. 29 at Louisiana Tech
Sept. 1 at
Nebraska L 52-10
Sept. 8 at
Nwestern L 36-31
Boise St L 69-67 4OT
at Utah State
Hawaii L 28-26
San Jose St L 27-24
New Mexico Bowl
Dec. 22 New Mexico L 23-0
No one aspires to be
an also-ran, especially in a non-BCS conference like the WAC, but Nevada
is too good with too much upside to not be more of a regular in the
How close have the Wolf Pack been to being really good? It lost three
WAC games by a total of seven points last season, and lost by eight in a
shootout against Fresno State. But losses are losses, and Nevada is 0-6
against Hawaii, Boise State and Fresno State over the last two seasons
and it hasn’t beaten the Broncos since 1998 when the two teams were in
the Big West.
This has to be the year the program turns a corner. It’s good enough to
beat anyone in the league, but it not only has to learn how to close and
win the tight games, but it has to get past the ugly New Mexico Bowl
shutout loss to New Mexico to get its mojo back before dealing with
Texas Tech and Missouri.
With decent experience returning and plenty of all-star talent on both
sides of the ball, there's no reason the Pack can't be thrown into the
discussion with Boise State and Fresno State as far as WAC title
contenders, but the special teams have to be better, the defense has to
be more of a rock, and the quarterback situation has to be settled.
It's not a bad situation considering both options are among the league's
best quarterbacks, but it'll be a tough choice for the coaching staff
between the mobile upside of sophomore Colin Kaepernick or the talented
veteran Nick Graziano, who's coming off an injury.
The defense suffers some big losses, but the change in scheme and in the
coaching staff should bring more production. There are some all-stars
like DE Kevin Basped and LB Josh Mauga to build around, and by the end
of the season this might be the WAC's best defense.
This is as good a team as any in the WAC with as much firepower on
offense and instant improvements on defense to win the championship. Now
the team has to believe it can really do it.
What to watch for on offense: The running game. While the main
storyline is the quarterback situation, the running game will control
the offense with 1,420-yard back Luke Lippincott running behind a
dominant line. If Kaepernick, who ran for 593 yards, is under center,
the Wolf Pack running game will be the best in the WAC again.
What to watch for on defense: The 4-3. The 3-4 didn't work out as
well as expected with way too much inconsistency when it came to getting
into the backfield. New defensive coordinator Nigel Burton's goal is to
help out the suspect secondary by getting the quarterbacks hit early and
often. If you can't stop the pass, you're in trouble in WAC play.
Nevada, compared to other league teams, wasn't bad, but 241 yards per
game are still too many.
The team will be far better if … it can bend more without
breaking. The defense gave up 415 yards per game, which is a lot, but
it's not that bad for the WAC, and considering the offense was
11th in the nation, it wasn't that big a problem. However, the defense
almost never held tough when it had to. Turnovers and big pass plays
were a problem, but if Nevada starts winning the turnover margin and
starts generating more pressure on the quarterback, things should
The Schedule: The schedule is just good enough to be in the WAC race until the end,
but it's just tough enough to prevent a huge season. It's asking a lot
to beat a loaded, as in top-ten ranked loaded, Texas Tech and win a trip
to Missouri early on, but everything else is winnable including key WAC
road trips to Hawaii and Fresno State. Road games at UNLV, Idaho and
Louisiana Tech have to be wins if the Wolf Pack plans to be a strong
bowl team, while playing San Jose State and Boise State in back to back
November home games will be the key to the season.
Best Offensive Player:
Senior RB Luke Lippincott. He would've been the WAC Player of the
Year if Colt Brennan hadn't cranked out a Heisman-caliber season. He
followed up a strong sophomore season with 1,420 yards and 15
touchdowns, and he also caught 26 passes for 295 yards and three scores.
A steady workhorse, he can handle 30 touches a game without a problem.
Best Defensive Player:
Joshua Mauga. Ezra Butler was the signature star on the defense over the
past few seasons, but the is Mauga's defense now. He was on his way to a
huge season before tearing up his knee, and now he needs to come back at
100% to be the leader of a front seven that's going back to the 4-3 and
needs a rock to revolve around.
Key player to a
Sophomore DE/LB Dontay Moch. The Pack defense technically will switch to
a 4-3, but Moch is an outside linebacker who'll line up on the end. Not
only does the 220-pounder have to hold up, despite being woefully
undersized for the line, but he'll be asked to be a dangerous pass
rusher and the replacement for Ezra Butler.
The season will be a
... Nevada finishes second in the WAC. While the team is good enough to
win a title, the road games at Hawaii, Fresno State and Louisiana Tech
could end those hopes. However, being the champion is a realistic goal,
and if the Pack falls just short and finishes second, that would be a
more than successful year.
Nov. 7 at Fresno State. While the Bulldogs might be the best in the
league, Nevada gets a week off before the road trip. When in Fresno, and
then the finishing kick against San Jose State, Boise State and at
Louisiana Tech takes on a whole new look.
2007 Fun Stats:
- Fourth down conversions: Nevada 15 of 22 (68%) – Opponents 8 of 17
- Penalties: Nevada 93 for 732 yards – Opponents 74 for 601 yards
- Punt return average: Opponents 10.5 yards – Nevada 7.1 yards