Monday, May 26, 2008

Monster in the Middle

With the loss of one of the more athletic line backers in Wolf Pack history, publications are wondering who is going to fill the void for a Pack defense that struggled last season.

Enter senior Josh Mauga

Before injuries slowed him down in the 2007 season, Josh was amongst the nation's leaders in tackles. Despite playing in only seven of the Pack's twelve regular season games he finished tied for 2nd on the team in tackles with 82. Game-by-game to start the season Josh had the following numbers: 13 vs. Nebraska, 11 vs. Northwestern, 14 vs. Nichols, 9 vs. Funlv, 11 vs. Fresno State, and 12 vs. BSU. He also registered 11 tackles in the New Mexico bowl.

Josh is a home grown product hailing from Churchill County High in Fallon, Nevada. He was named High Desert Defensive POY, All Region, and All State in 2004. He was also the number one ranked heavyweight wrestler in Nevada.

In college, Josh was named as one of the team's captains as a junior. It isn't often for the Pack that a junior is named captain. A quiet leader who walks with a big stick, Mauga played outside backer as a true freshman for the team in 2005. He earned honorable mention All American for his performance by the Sporting News that year. He then moved to the inside his sophomore season and recorded 10 tackles against BSU and had an interception against the webels and also in the MPC bowl vs. Miami.

Josh along with Dominic Green is considered by many to be a probable NFL draft choice following this season. In the mean time, he'll be recording another double digit tackles count average per game for the Wolf Pack.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

T Minus 100 and Counting

Just 100 Days until the Wolf Pack kicks off the season in Reno against the Grambling State Tigers.

Hope you're as excited and ready for Wolf Pack football as we are!

In the mean time, check back regularly for updates, analysis, and breakdowns of all things Wolf Pack football.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Preview Opponent....Funlv

Where should I start with this preview?

Well, for one, it's the big rivalry. No need to mention that. We currently lead 18-15. Last three years we've been bowling. Last three years they've been blowing (actually last four years they've managed a whole TWO in the win column). And coach Ault hates their guts and hates red because of that school in particular (we tend to hate red because of icky felony state as well).

For the past three seasons we've painted the cannon blue, including a 31-3 stomping of the webels on their home turf in 2006. This season looks to be no different.

While the Wolf Pack is predicted to be a viable contender for a WAC championship as well as a bowl team for the fourth year in a row, the webels are hoping to double the total in the win column to four.

Let's take a look at what the kids from down south have returning to them this year.

1. Coach Mike Sanford (the Wolf Pack's best ally) is returning with his 6-29 record to try one more time to put some points on the board.

2. 9 returning starters on the offense including senior RB Frank Summers and all the WR's means there should be no excuses for this group to not move the ball.

3. 5 returning starters on defense means the excuses will be plenty if this group can't get stops early in the year.

The biggest problem for the red devils is that they don't have a legit trigger man. Where as we have two - three guys who can step on the field and move the ball and make plays, they have a couple of middle of the road guys who run streaky and are just as likely to throw a pick as they are a touchdown.

The next biggest problem (and it could be as big or worse) is that the run defense is in bad shape and looks to be again this year. The defense overall lacks size and struggles with strong running games. Something the Wolf Pack was more than adequate with last season. And remember, the webels didn't face Kaepernick running the ball, they got the lesser of two evils on the ground when Graziano was on the field. In 2006, a freshman named Brandon Fragger romped at Sam Boyd stadium for 146 yards on 19 carries and added a couple of scores. What Fragger did two years ago on the ground and what Graziano did last year in the air has us here at PWtW excited to see which Wolf Pack player will take their turn feasting at the dead carcass that is the Funlv defense.

PWtW prediction for 2008 at LV: 42-9 Nevada
**Now I now that this is a fairly short preview for the team that is our biggest rival. I'll have plenty more to write about them later on. For now just a little teaser to wet the appetite is all.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Getting In Shape Part Deux

#94, Defensive tackle Mundrae Clifton is getting ready for his senior year in a big way. After having a successful junior season in which he moved inside to the tackle spot after the Pack switched from it's 3-4 defense to a 4-3 defense, Mundrae "Dre" Clifton is looking to join fellow teammates Josh Mauga and Dominic Green as a player who's name is on the tip of NFL scouts tongues.

After his record shattering squat of 805 pounds this spring, that shouldn't be too hard.

According to the Reno Gazette Journal, Clifton was one of a few players to set new marks in various strength categories. It probably helps that Nevada's director of strength, John Archer, was used to seeing some serious numbers when working as Nebraska's assistant strength coach before coming to Nevada. But while working with one of the top football schools in the nation like Nebraska, Archer hadn't seen a squat number as high as the one that Dre put up.

The record had been held by former fan favorite and recently graduated nose tackle Matt Hines at 760 pounds.

Along with Dre's mind boggling squat record, the other records broken were:

Two quarterbacks passed up Travis Moore's squat record of 485 pounds. Sophomore Colin Kaepernick passed the record at 490 pounds. It wouldn't be enough though as Red-Shirt Freshman Luke Collis would also break and then set the new mark at 495 pounds.

Red-Shirt Freshman Shane Anderson broke Kyle Sammons and Andy McIntosh's previous co-owned squat record of 545 pounds with a new record of 565 pounds for a wide receiver.

Sophomore Dontay Moche broke the old squat mark for defensive ends (which had been owned by Clifton before he moved inside) with a 685 pound lift, putting him 5 pounds over the 680 set last year.

And lastly, the only non-squat record set was by Junior wide receiver Arthur King Jr who set the new bench press mark at 360 pounds. The previous record of 355 pounds was owned by Arthur King Jr as well, thus breaking his own record.

These are some amazing numbers and it's exciting to see that with the exception of Clifton, these are all underclassmen who are working hard to steer this team in the right direction. The WAC championship direction!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Burton has Pack Fans Excited about D-Fence

This year when the Nevada Wolf Pack football team takes the field, the defense will be doing so under a new the guidance of a new face to many Wolf Pack faithful.

In the event that you haven't been following these past months, coach Ault went out looking for someone to improve the Pack's poorly rated defense (a unit that was supposed to be the teams strength going into the 2007 season). And what Ault found was a young, motivated, and well respected coach from the PAC 10 ranks that was looking for an opportunity to prove himself as a more than a position coach.

Enter former Oregon State Defensive Back coach Nigel Burton.

Burton's resume is as follows:

1999-2001 USF

2001-2003 Portland State *coached Anthony Henry, 2001 NFL ROY runner-up. Served as Denver Bronco intern summer 2002.

2003-2008 Oregon State *coached 2004 All PAC 10 selections Aric Williams and Brandon Browner and 2005 Frosh All American selection Keenan Lewis.

As a player, Burton earned Big West Player of the Week honors while with UOP before transferring to Washington where he played and started 35 of 36 games for the Huskies and was a three time letter winner.

And possibly even more important than any of this information is that Burton is know as an exceptional recruiter who will certainly lure away some BCS quality players from the PAC 10

This year the Pack plans to go with a 4-3 defense. And with the loss of both starting cornerbacks, Burton appears to be the perfect fit for a defense that gave up nearly as many points as it's #8 ranked offense put up. With young players and new JC transfers coming into the program, Burton will have to determine a starting secondary quickly. Shouldn't be an issue for a rising star like a young guy like Nigel.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Rimington Watch List Features Pack Center

The WAC recently announced that Wolf Pack center Dominic Green has been named to the preseason Riminton Trophy watch list. This is the second time that Dominic has been named to this list (he was also named in 2007) and is also the second watch list that he has been named to this year (the Rotary Lombardi trophy is the other).

The Rimington trophy is awarded to the nations best center. The way it works is that votes from four of the All-American teams are tallied up and the player who got the most votes combined from those four is awarded the trophy. The four All-American teams are: American Football Coaches Association, Walter Camp Foundation, the Sporting News, and Football Writers Association of America. The Rimington trophy committee then verifies that the player is primarily his teams center before awarding the trophy.

All of the winners of this award so far have been from BCS schools. We here at PWtW think that with a couple of big wins this season against highly ranked Big 12 schools that Dom has a chance to break that streak and be the first WAC player to take home the hardware.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Getting in Shape for 08

According to the Reno Gazette-Journal, for the second time ever (and the second year in a row) all of the Nevada football players passed with acceptable times in Chris Ault's "Nevada Run".

The Nevada Run is a test designed to challenge a persons speed, agility, and endurance.

This year, three football players were able to set new positional records. I take this as a sign that the guys are putting in the time and energy in the weight room required to make themselves the most prepared they can be. The players who set all new records at their positions are:

Quarterbacks: Sophomore Colin Kaepernick, last years WAC freshman of the year, bested former Wolf Pack and current Cincinnati Bengals' QB Jeff Rowe's old Record. From what we are hearing around town, it sounds like Kaepernick is planning to break some records in the weight room as well before his career at Nevada comes to a close

Tight Ends: Red-shirt Freshman Zach Sudfeld, the Wolf Pack's Full Speed, Effort and Habits award winner (given to the scout team player of the year) continued to show how much that hard work can pay off by setting a new mark for TE's. At 6'7" 230 and growing the future looks like it could be bright at the TE spot.

Defensive Ends: Red-shirt Freshman Bretty Roy, who at 6'4" 225 pounds was originally listed as a LB, appears to be making the switch to defensive end. It could be a much needed change if senior Erics Clark isn't allowed another year of eligibility. Having a tall athletic kid like Roy opposite future NFL prospect Kevin Basped will be a must when facing pass happy New Mexico State and Hawaii this October.