2009 CFN Nevada Preview
Nevada DE Kevin Basped
Nevada DE Kevin Basped
Posted Jul 14, 2009

CollegeFootballNews.com 2009 Preview - Nevada Wolf Pack

Nevada Wolf Pack

Preview 2009

By Pete Fiutak

- 2009 CFN Nevada Preview | 2009 Nevada Offense
2009 Nevada Defense | 2009 Nevada Depth Chart
2008 Nevada Preview | 2007 Nevada Preview | 2006 Nevada Preview

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Head coach: Chris Ault
25th year: 198-91-1
Returning Lettermen:
Off. 21, Def. 15, ST 1
Lettermen Lost: 14
Ten Best Pack Players
1. QB Colin Kaepernick, Jr.
2. DE Kevin Basped, Jr.
3. DE Dontay Moch, Jr.
4. RB Vai Taua, Jr.
5. OT Mike Gallett, Jr.
6. OT Alonzo Durham, Sr.
7. SS Jonathan Amaya, Jr.
8. LB James-Michael Johnson, Soph.
9. CB Antoine Thompson, Sr.
10. WR Chris Wellington, Jr.

2009 Schedule
CFN Prediction:

2009 Record:

9/5 at Notre Dame
at Colorado State
9/25 Missouri
10/9 Louisiana Tech
10/17 at Utah State
10/24 Idaho
10/31 Hawaii
11/8 at San Jose State
Fresno State
11/21 at New Mexico State
11/27 at Boise State

2008 Schedule
CFN Prediction:

2008 Record:

8/30 Grambling St W 49-13
9/6 Texas Tech L 35-19
9/13 at Missouri L 69-17
9/27 at UNLV W 49-27
10/4 at Idaho W 49-14
10/11 New Mexico St L 48-45
10/18 Utah State W 44-17
10/25 at Hawaii L 38-31
11/7 at Fresno State W 41-28
11/15 San Jose St W 41-17
11/22 Boise State L 41-34
11/29 at La Tech W 35-31

Humanitarian Bowl
12/30 Maryland L 42-35

Nevada has been great at being a dangerous WAC foe, but it hasn't been able to get over the hump and it hasn't quite been able to make the national splash that Boise State, Fresno State, and Hawaii have.

Forget that Chris Ault's team year after year after year cranks out fun and exciting offenses and provides a major push for the better non-conference teams on the schedule (save for a blowout by Missouri last year), the program needs to beat Boise State, establish itself as one of the WAC's powerhouses that has to be feared, and, as crazy as this might seem, it can honestly dream of the Hawaii-like BCS run of a few years ago with the right breaks.

However, to dare to think about the truly big prizes, the defense has to be tighter. Considering the running game should be able to control every game, the defense should be well rested and it needs to find ways to not let the higher octane offenses score in bunches. The tests will come early on with Notre Dame and its improved offense in the opener and with Missouri coming to Reno a few weeks later, but for the most part, the Pack should be able to simply outbomb, or more accurately, outrun just about everyone.

This is the non-BCS league team you have to watch this year. Quarterback Colin Kaepernick is one of the nation's most exciting playmakers and should make some national noise if he plays as well as expected against the Irish. There are more than enough weapons to put up some ridiculous numbers as this appears to be the year when it should all come together and Nevada has its best season yet since Ault returned to coach the team.

With a great running game, a nice pair of defensive ends in Kevin Basped and Dontay Moch to provide pressure, and veterans all across the board, watch out.

What to watch for on offense:
More from the running game. Vai Taua and Luke Lippincott should form a deadly 1-2 punch in the Nevada Pistol offense, but it’s having a quarterback like Colin Kaepernick, who ran for 1,130 yards and 17 touchdowns, that truly makes the ground game special. Everyone’s going to bring the house to stop the Wolf Pack ground attack, and no one will have much luck on a regular basis.

What to watch for on defense: Aggressive vanilla. There’s your new extreme sport drink, and there’s the description of the Nevada 4-3 defense that defensive coordinator Nigel Burton put in last year to replace a 3-4 that didn’t work. The Pack doesn’t do anything crazy. There aren’t jailbreak blitzes and a lot of fancy schemes, but there’s lots of pressure into the backfield from all sides and the overall run defense has been solid. However ...

The team will be far better if … it can figure out how to slow down the forward pass. Everyone got fat on the Nevada secondary last year. To be fair, offenses had to bomb away to keep up the pace, and playing Texas Tech, Missouri, Boise State, New Mexico State and Hawaii are going to skew the pass defense stats, but the secondary really was that porous. Getting to the quarterback wasn’t a problem and it still didn’t matter. It was a simple equation. When teams scored 35 points or more, they were 6-0 against the Pack. Everyone under the 35 point mark went 0-7. The teams that won were able to throw with ease.

The Schedule: It'll be a fun start with a statement trip to Notre Dame with a tough battle at Colorado State to follow after a week off. Missouri will come to Reno giving the Pack a chance to make some national noise. The game against the Tigers starts a run of five home games in six, with the one road game against Utah State. The piper is paid in November going on the road for three of the final four games including a trip to Boise State to close out the regular season. Getting Fresno State and Louisiana Tech at home will help the WAC title chase.

Best Offensive Player: Junior QB Colin Kaepernick. He’s going to be one of the more interesting pro prospects to analyze over the course of the season. He’s a lanky 6-6, 215 pounds with a major league fastball in his arm and Vince Young-like legs. He can do a little of everything well, and while he has to improve his completion percentage, he doesn’t give the ball away. He only threw seven interceptions last year.

Best Defensive Player: Junior DE Kevin Basped. Expected to be among the hot new WAC stars of 2008, he came through with a tremendous season with 10.5 sacks as a flash of lightning into the backfield. He’s 6-6, 240 pounds and has room to get bigger and better. If he can get up to 255 pounds and keep the same closing burst on the quarterbacks, the pro scouts are going to have a hard time containing their drool.

Key player to a successful season: Junior WR Chris Wellington. While it’s all about the running game for Nevada, the passing game didn’t exactly take a back seat. Marko Mitchell and Mike McCoy combined for 114 catches for 1,733 yards and 12 touchdowns, and now they’re gone. Wellington is a speedster who was good at coming up with big grabs, making six touchdown catches, but now he has to go from being an excellent running mate to a No. 1 target.

The season will be a success if ... Nevada finishes second in the WAC. There are just enough holes to not win the WAC, this isn’t a good enough team to beat all the top teams in the league, but it should be strong enough offensively to pull off a big win or three and be in the hunt for the title until the end. If the pass defense can be better, far better, and the special teams are at least average, it might be possible to shoot for higher, but being No. 2 in the WAC isn’t all that bad.

Key game: Sept. 5 at Notre Dame. If this really is a special Nevada team that wants to be a sleeper in the BCS race and wants to set a tone for the WAC season, it needs to start in game one with a big performance in the national spotlight. Everyone will be watching, mostly because all eyes will be on Notre Dame to see if the team has improved or not, which means the Pack will have a chance to create a tremendous buzz. The regular season ender at Boise State will be the most important game, but beating the Irish would be bigger on a national scale.

2008 Fun Stats: 
- Average rushing yards per game: Nevada 277.8 – Opponents 88.6
- Average passing yards per game: Opponents 311.6 – Nevada 230.8
- Kickoff return average: Opponents 26.1 yards – Nevada 19.4 yards

- 2009 CFN Nevada Preview | 2009 Nevada Offense
2009 Nevada Defense | 2009 Nevada Depth Chart
2008 Nevada Preview | 2007 Nevada Preview | 2006 Nevada Preview


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2009 Nevada Preview - Offense
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2009 Nevada Preview - Defense
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2009 Nevada Preview – Depth Chart
 -by CollegeFootballNews.com  Jul 14, 2009

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