Monday, September 29, 2008

Drunk Off Domination and Other Thoughts

The Fremont Cannon will stay blue and silver for another year!

OK, so it's Monday and you can't believe that we haven't written about the 49-27 thrashing of the webels this Saturday.

Well that's what happens when you are hung over from the joy of once again shellacking the dirty south in their own home. You just need to recover. You need to watch the replay from your DirecTv DVR and analyze things from a different perspective then the one you got sitting in the stands yelling yourself horse.

I for one thought this game would be a Wolf Pack victory, but I don't think I expected such domination.

It does feel good to be right once in awhile. Let's take a look at just what PWtW was right about this week:

1. We did a story on Brad Langley last week. Then he boomed a 77 yard punt that totally changed the field position at a critical time in the game. Still wondering why PWtW would waste an article on a punter?


"We also think that it's time Kaepernick "goes off" on someone. He's had respectable games now against some major competition and it's time for the young QB to erupt on someone in the form of some serious statage".

Maybe we should go into the business of professional funds hedging now. Seriously....lead the NATION in rushing yards and rushing TD's this weekend. Had a 200+ QB rating and two TD's in the air. Earned WAC player of the week on offense. And became the first Wolf Pack QB EVER to run for over 200 yards. The teams been playing for over 100 years people! (Somewhere OBNUG bloggers were tasting a little vomit in their mouths when they read this stat-line).

3. Then we did an interview with The Mountain West Conference Connection and predicted a win. Check. Said we needed to get pressure on the QB. Check. Limit Summers to short gains. Check. Split the load up between Kaepernick and Taua. Check.


Ok, so now here are some thoughts from the game and from watching the replay on TV. I'll try and touch on some things that maybe not all of the Wolf Pack fans noticed.

1. While watching the replay, I noticed two things that IMO are huge. The first was Dominic Green going wild with energy on the sidelines. So much so that my wife asked "what is he doing"? I looked at her and said, "he's pumping these guys up. He's being a captain!". About 20 minutes later, they show the sidelines again and there's Luke Lippincott in his jersey and jeans hugging Kaepernick, patting him on the back, and then having a chat with him. Again, another captain of this team being just that. Great to see the senior leaders showing these young guys the importance of this game.

2. The defensive front was solid all night. Funlv had a total of 54 yards rushing. Their previous low was the loss to Utah in which they ran for 130 yards. The secondary gave up 327 in the air and 3 scores. But on the bright side, they held Clayton to under 50% for the game, picked him off for the first time of the year, and on a couple of plays had great position and just "missed" on picking off a couple more passes. What I'm getting at is that this is a group that is very close to being one of the best defenses in the WAC.

3. After the game, students and fans rushed the field to celebrate with Wolf Pack players. After running around all night, we can only imagine the Kaepernick must have been gassed. Did he duck out to the locker room when this one was over? Hell no! Kaepernick, in the center of what must have been about 500 blue clad students, joined in as the group did their best impression of a House of Pain concert and jumped up and down in celebration of taking the cannon back to NEVADA for another year. It's these moments that this program needs to solidify life long silver and blue fans. Players and coaches getting fans involved and showing the love. Numerous players were looking up and smiling and waving at the Wolf Pack faithful in the stands during the fourth quarter. That type of appreciation of support makes the fans appreciate these kids and this staff just that much more.

4. Yes Kaepernick had 240 yards running. But the Pack had 444 yards on the ground. That means that between Vai, Courtney, and Lampford another 204 yards were chunked out. Say hello to 123 yards Vai Taua. And Randall's TD to put the Pack up by two scores mid way through the second was as big a TD run as this teams had this year. And BTW, Nevada is now THIRD IN THE NCAA in rushing. (Even after playing two top 7 ranked teams and without Lippincott and Fragger!) So what can we take away from all these numbers? I'll tell you what: THE UNION IS FRICKING DOMINATING!

5. Something that got talked about last year: Nevada scoring on plays of 25 yards or more. The Pack had 23 such plays which was good for second in the nation behind Oklahoma. This year the Pack has 8 such plays in 4 games. That would average out to one more big play than last year. Four of those plays came on Saturday as Chris Wellington hauled in a 70 yard pass, Virgil Green got open for a 40 yard TD, and Colin Kaepernick ran for 66 yard and 28 yard scores in the second half.

Ahhhhh. We'll enjoy this one for another day or so we think.

Next up for the Wolf Pack is the final leg of their three game road trip as the Pack travels to the Kibbie Dome to take on the Idaho Vandals. The final remaining good thing left in the Vandals season, the cheerleaders in their pirate uniforms, were recently kaboshed by their own fans. Now there is nothing left to be happy about in Idaho!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Q & A with the Enemy

Jeremy over at Mountain West Conference Connection ( was so kind to answer PWtW's tough questions.

Here are his thoughts entering this Saturday's game:

1. On offense, your new quarterback Omar Clayton appears to be having a lot of success (9:0 TD/INT). Do you expect to see the Rebels come out and try and establish the run with he and Summers or do you go to the air and test the young defensive backs?

Coach Mike Sanford always looks to establish the run early in the game with their option offense. Frank Summers is a bruising back who is tough to take down once he breaks through the first level. Do expect Omar Clayton to attack this Nevada secondary, UNLV has three very good receivers in Casey Flair, Ryan Wolfe, and Freshman Phillip Payne who has five touchdowns. Clayton has had success throwing the ball because he has not had to force too many passes, because of this type of offense is one that usually has four players out as eligible receivers to throw to.

2. When Nevada has the ball, what do you do to stop the Pistol offense? Is there any one player or play that has you concerned from what you've seen of the Rebel defense so far?

The Rebels had trouble against Utah which runs a similar offense with a lot passing and many receivers, and they struggled in the second half. Pressure is the best way to disrupt any type of passing attack, because if the quarterback only has a few seconds to throw and unable to make it through the progression that can cause a quarterback to force the ball. UNLV does have trouble defending the deep ball which is why applying pressure to the quarterback is a must for UNLV to try to slow the Pistol offense.

3. With three wins in four games already this year, you've passed the win total from any of your past three seasons. What is the biggest difference in this years team?

The team finally has a quarterback that has been in the system for more then one year with Omar Clayton and he is a mobile quarterback which is needed when running the spread option. Also, the team has more offensive play makers, which allows the team to be more balanced and not predictable.

4. How critical is this game to your bowl chances and for the rest of the season?

Every home game is critical for bowl eligibility, since UNLV has very little success on the road.

5. For those fans who are not familiar with Las Vegas, where is the best place to celebrate a victory (or drink away a defeat should such a thing happen) after the game?

Well I do not live in Vegas, but an In-N-Out Burger is always tasty.

Thanks for the reply Jeremy!

About the only comment I have is that, although indeed very tasty, I don't think win or lose I will be visiting an In-N-Out Burger. A big win could call for some serious partying at one of the many way-too-over-priced casino night clubs on the strip while a loss could draw a drunken stupor at Hard Rock or Hooters (combined with a significant loss of money at the blackjack tables to complete the weekends misery.)

Monday, September 22, 2008

Monday, Monday

It's Monday and this weekend is the first chance Nevada will have to achieve one of it's seasonal goals. The goals, incase you aren't aware, are:

1. Beat FUNLV
2. Having a winning record
3. Win the WAC
4. Make a bowl game.

A little blurb on the game from Fantasy Football site "Fantasy College Blitz"


COLIN KAEPERNICK (Nevada) and OMAR CLAYTON (UNLV): A rivalry game under the radar nationally, but, a real snot-fest inside the Silver State…think of Auburn-Alabama hate-ness…with sports books nearby. Kaepernick is always a good play against equal competition, while Clayton has come around to become a threat both on the ground and in the air."

We like this blurb because it's someone outside of the state that knows Nevada is the Silver State. And it's also someone outside of the state that knows this is a serious and big-time "hate-ness" type of rivalry.

We also think that it's time Kaepernick "goes off" on someone. He's had respectable games now against some major competition and it's time for the young QB to erupt on someone in the form of some serious statage.

Check in through out the week to read more about FUNLV's portrayal of Custer's Last Stand (with the Nevada Wolf Pack playing the part of the Cheyenne tribe and special guest apppearance by Chris Ault as Chief Sitting Bull) set to take place this Saturday night.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Langley the Scholarship Punter

(from Nevada Wolf Pack)

This year coach Ault decided to give a scholarship to a punter. And that punter is former American River CC punter Brad Langley.

Since we needed something positive to write about, why not write about an improvement that has been noticed.

On Saturday, Langley got a work out, punting 7 times for an average of 41 yards. Now consider that was 41 yards in the rain and wind. Now further consider that since 2001, only Derek Jones (2002) and Justin Bergendahl (2005) had a season that they averaged 41 yards punting. And finally consider the Langley was averaging 47 yards per through the first two games, when the weather was less of a factor.

If you consider Nevada punters average around 60 punts in a season, Langley could be worth about 420 yards or more of field position a season over past Nevada punters. We think that's absolutely worth a scholarship!

The Mourning After

Waking up this morning we hoped to feel better about the rest of the 2008 season.


After ripping Grambling (like we were supposed to) and playing Tech tough (like we were supposed to), the Misery Tigers beat down (wasn't supposed to be like this) has us a bit perplexed. Add to it that the team down south beat Utah State, played top 25 Utah tough (wasn't supposed to do that) and then just upset #15 Arizona State (WTF!) and it absolutely gives us reason to pause.

Combine that with the fact that the rest of the WAC isn't looking too bad (La Tech beat Mississippi State who darn near knocked off Auburn last night, Fresno beat Rutgers and nearly pulled of the win over Wisconsin last night, Boise is being Boise with a weak preseason schedule, San Jose St has apparently found a QB in Kyle Reed, etc, etc) and the Wolf Pack outlook just get blurrier and blurrier.

It could very well be that Missouri goes on to win the national championship. That they are that good. That our Wolf Pack had their worst game of the year. And that we'll look back with a 10-2 record and chalk this one up to those things.

The worst part of all of this speculating and wondering is that we now have a full two weeks to find out. Hopefully that means that coach Ault and Co. have a full two weeks to figure out what went wrong and correct it.

We do know this: We will not play another team as good as the one we just faced. And we will not play another team as good as the one we played the week before that. Texas Tech is 3-0. Missouri is 3-0.

We're going to lean towards the "Glass is half full" approach and say that in two weeks we go to sin city and thump those SOB's. If that holds true it will be like a heavy weight being lifted off of Wolf Pack faithful chests.

Black Rain

Hmmmm, I wonder if that face mask was called? Not that it really would have mattered. In a constant down poor of rain (and Jeremy Maclin TD's), the Pack got hammered on Saturday:



For the Nevada offense there were some positives early on. Against a team that returned 10 starters on defense and was a Cotton bowl winner defeating the Darrin McFadden / Felix Jones lead Arkansas Razorbacks 38-7 last year, we saw at times that the offense is capable of moving and scoring against a national championship type of team. The Pack managed 17 first half points with 227 yards and 14 first downs.

Think about it this way: If someone told us before the game that Nevada would have 34 points, 454 yards of offense, and 28 first downs against the Tigers we would have felt pretty good about that.

The problem is, the first half offense didn't match the second half. The offense got 0 points, 131 yards of offense, and only 7 first downs.

Oh, and of course there is the other problem. The BIG problem. The 69 points problem.

Give credit to the Tigers. They've got weapons. And more weapons. Chase Daniel was on fire, completing 82.1% of his passes for 4o5 yards and 4 TD's. Jeremy Maclin's line: 6 for 172 and 3 scores. Chase Coffman? 6 for 127 and a score. Those are three guys that could well be drafted in the first round this year all playing for the same team.

Some other interesting stats: Forced Fumbles, none. INT's, none. Sacks, none. QB hurries, none. Passes batted down, none. About the only exciting play was when Kevin Basped appeared to have Daniel wrapped up for a sack, only to be flagged 15 yards for face mask. What happened to the group that played Texas Tech so tough last week?

Missouri WR's appeared to have 5 yards of radius space around them at all times. It's no wonder Daniel 94% last week and 82 this week. There isn't a defender around. Meanwhile on the flip side of the ball, our WR's appear to have a man draped on them on every play. What is up with that?

This game is leaving us with two weeks worth of questions?

  • How will this team bounce back from this?
  • Why was Brandon Fragger returning kicks with Luke out for the season and can Vai Taua be an every down back now?
  • Lampford Mark, are you ready?
  • Will a TE catch a TD pass this year and what happened to Zach Sudfeld who was supposed to be an excellent pass catcher?
  • Will Colin Kaepernick lead this team in rushing yardage? He is through 3 games according to ESPN.
  • With NSU beating #15 Arizona State, are we in danger of? Dare we say it?......nope.
  • Can Nevada be a serious contender in the WAC this year?
What a sick feeling it is going to bed tonight wondering these things and more.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Penalties, Turnovers, and Just Plain Bad Timing

It was those types of things that doomed the Pack this past Saturday against the #12 ranked Texas Tech Red Raiders.

Here is a list of how badly we just missed in this game:

Drive #1. On 3rd and 2 at the Tech 11, the Pack only picked up 1 yard and was forced to kick the 3 from the 10. One more yard....

Drive #2. Starting with the ball on the 40, Nevada is flagged for holding. They then picked up 11 yards on the next two plays. Instead of having 1st and 10 in Tech territory, a 3rd and 9 pass was incomplete and a punt from Nevada territory ensued. And the Tech player ran it back for 7!

Drive #3. Starting with the ball on the 20, Nevada converts two first downs. On 3rd and 1 from the Tech 43, Lippincott appears to plunge through for the first down. But Nevada is flagged for holding. On 3rd and 11 Quarterback Colin Kaepernick gets sacked. Instead of a 1st down in Tech territory, Nevada is punting from it's own 35.

Drive #4. Starting with the ball on the Nevada 17, the Pack converts 3 first downs to push it all the way to the Tech 30. On 3rd and 4 from the Tech 24, Lippincott rushed for no gain. Jaekle misses the 42 yarder.

Drive #5. After converting on 3 first downs, with first and goal from the 10, Taua rushes for 6 yards to the 4. On 2nd and goal from the 4, Kaepernick gets sacked. Third down completion falls short. Field goal is good. (7-6 in the second quarter).

Drive #6. 2 big rushes for Kaepernick move the ball down to the Tech 14. On first down, Kaepernick's pass is tipped up and intercepted.

Drive #8. 5 first downs and with the ball on the 10 (what is up with 1st and goal from the 10?) and 2nd down, Fragger picks up 5. 3rd and goal from the 5 and Fragger picks up 2. 4th and goal from the 3, Kaepernick fumbles (supposedly).

Drive #9. 3rd and 12 on Tech 18 and Fragger rushes for 4. Huh? Jaekle field goal. (14-12 half way through 3rd quarter).

Drive #10. 4 first downs and missed 44 yard field goal. (Could have been 21-15 going to the 4th).

Drive #12. With one last gasp to try and score and kick an onsider, after 3 first downs on the Tech 23 with 3+ minutes to play Kaepernick is sacked on consecutive plays.

Game Over. UGH!

And I didn't even go into detail on the fact that the Pack just lost one of the best offensive players in the WAC in RB Luke Lippincott who tore up a knee during the game. We are expecting Vai and Brandon to pick up the load where Luke left off. Silver lining....Nevada could have it's best chance at a BCS run next season and unexpectidly having Luke to contribute to that could be huge!

Other thoughts:

Well, uh, there is a game this weekend with the #6 team in the country. Sort of a big deal there.

We expect coach Ault and company to tidy up the mis-cues this weekend and present Mizzou with something in the way of a little 35-31 upset in Columbia. How do you like that Tiger fans? This Wolf Pack already has a taste for Tiger meet and they liked it. Last time they feasted on a little juvenile Tiger and now they're hunting for the big game.

Catch a Tiger by it's tail.....

Friday, September 5, 2008


The picture above is of Marko Mitchell scoring a TD. This weekend when the Nevada Wolf Pack square off against the Texas Tech Red Raiders, we expect to see a lot of that (well minus the hideous orange end zone).

Let's take a look at the numbers in week 1:

Scoring: Nevada 49 points. Tech 49. Advantage: Push
Defense: Nevada 13 points. Tech 24. Advantage: Pack
Rushing: Nevada 426 yards. Tech 103. Advantage: Pack
Passing: Nevada 223 yards. Tech 536. Advantage: Tech

Some other interesting things to consider: When either team scores over 30, they both tend to win. The advantage has to go to Tech though as since 2001 they are a staggering 53-9. However, when Tech has been held to less than 30, they are a staggering 6-22. So the solution seems to be to hold them under 30 while scoring more than 30. Uhhhhhhhhhhhh, hey the Pack defense already loooks better this year but we aren't asking for miracles either. Unless the Pack offense can sustain long drives with TD's and the defense can cause problems in the backfield, they probably will reach 30 or more. But if the Pack offense doesn't sustain long drives, but does score TD's regularly, then a shoot out could unfold. And as long as the Wolf Pack can hang around til the 4th quarter then anything is possible at home under the lights.

Official PWtW prediction: Nevada 38, Texas Tech 35. Jaekle with a field goal as time expires.

Now lets get out there and do this doggone thing!