Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Wolf Pack Summer Drinking Game

As I mentioned in a previous entry, summertime in northern Nevada is a fine season in its own right that suffers from the lone drawback of having no college football. And with the 2010 season still fresh in our minds, the Mountain West move a whole fourteen months away and actual bad news still coming in on all fronts for the University, this summer will be especially brutal for die-hards. How can we pass the time in a way that both plays to our strengths as fans and still allows us to enjoy the summer?

Well, let me ask you another question: what's the one thing Renoites do better than anyone else? I mean, besides "not show up to games" and "complain about how much better something could be without actually working to improve it in any way"? Drinking!

Yes, good old alcohol consumption. It loosens your inhibitions, levels the playing field for ugly women, and makes you feel invincible and all-powerful when your sober friends can attest to the opposite being true. And what better twist is there on this pastime than the drinking game? From Beirut to "The Big Lebowski," there's no shortage of ways to attach unique conditions to the objective of getting plotzed as quickly as possible. So why not take all the cliches and tropes we Pack fans will be repeatedly hearing for the next four months and at least bring our good friend alcohol in to the equation?*

*It goes without saying that drinking should never ever involve driving. Lord knows if you actually adhered to these drinking game rules you'd probably be dead of alcohol poisoning within a week, anyway. So please don't take this as anything other than satire and good-natured fun. Be responsible, don't be stupid and all that goodness.

Take one sip whenever...

~ Someone writes off this year's team with something to the effect of "Well, Kaep and Taua are gone, so they're probably gonna suck now." - Get ready for a LOT of this in the coming months. It's not that they aren't going to be tough to replace, because they are. It's saying stuff like this with a complete disregard for all of the other people that helped make the team successful that irks me. Not to mention the total indifference it shows towards what should be a very solid defense. They won't be the same group they were before, of course, but an entire team dependent upon the efforts of two guys? Please. And on one of those last notes...

~ Someone comments on how good the defense will be this year - The novelty of having a defense that doesn't suck pavement and actually helps the team win games has not worn off. I feel this is worth drinking to.

~ A fan of another WAC team wishes bad things on Nevada for their Mountain West invitation - Whether it stems from "the Project" not going through or just plain old jealousy, Nevada won't be very popular for the next year. But regardless of the circumstances surrounding them, Nevada, Fresno State and Hawai'i all earned their invitations through the hard work and perseverance of their student-athletes and coaches. They've all had varying degrees of above average success in football of late, and they all bring other very strong programs and assets to the table. Before you tear others down, look at how you can build yourself up.

~ A Boise State fan uses the actions of one jackwagon caught on camera to justify painting our entire fan base, city and state in a negative light - Yeah, you knew this was coming. Apparently some BSU fans weren't treated well in the time immediately following last year's game, and their fans will invariably use this picture as evidence of what mean, nasty and generally despicable human beings we all are. What they won't do, however, is mention that bad behavior went both ways that night, like with the players who ran straight through the Senior Day families before kick-off, or any number of the Bronco fans in the stands who made general fools of themselves during the game, or the players who taunted the home crowd at various points, and the list goes on. The reason we heard stories about OUR fans is because Boise State lost, and if the roles had been reversed (keeping in mind just how close that was to happening) I doubt our fans would've made the same fuss. Douchebaggery and violence aren't condoned by anyone with an ounce of common sense, but it has to apply to everyone everywhere and not just the human rubbish like that guy in the picture. Also, please refer to this post if you question my motivations in all of this.

~ Nevada's fan support gets criticized - No righteously indignant rant here. I've criticized our fan support plenty of times in the past, including just a few paragraphs ago. This particular drinking game condition could become a vicious cycle for someone like me, so let's move on.

~ Someone mispronounces "Nevada" or misspells "Wolf Pack" - Because hell, this already occurs enough to justify a sip when it happens.

~ A Rebel fan refers to our teams as "UNR" instead of "Nevada" - This is something seemingly as old as the rivalry itself and will never change, but I'd be remiss if I didn't fit it in here somewhere.

Take two sips whenever...

~ Someone wonders out loud why Nevada jumped to the Mountain West so hastily given their current financial problems - Normally I'm capable of seeing two sides to every argument, but not in this case. How even the most casual fan can ask this as a serious question is astounding to me. Nevada's choice was to either make the move now or get left behind in the new WAC forever. Even after TCU's departure, this is still a very easy choice to make. The Mountain West has an actual future to look forward to. The WAC does not -- at least, not a relevant one. END. OF. ARGUMENT.

~ The RGJ is referred to as "the Urinal" - Juvenile? Yes. Crude? Absolutely. Still true a lot of the time? You bet.

~ You or someone else mispronounces Willie Faataualofa's name. - Big Willie rules and we doubt he'd come after anyone who accidentally said his name wrong. But why take that chance? The guy's big. Hence the nickname.

~ Cody Fajardo is referred to as "the quarterback of the future." - We all love Cody, and at this point in time this statement is probably true. But at least show Tanner Roderick a little respect before you fully commit yourself to the Fajardo Fan Club.

~ Yours Truly mentions how hard it is to find stuff to blog about in the summertime. - Hey, it's my drinking game!

Take three sips whenever...

~ Someone replays the video of Wolfie dancing off the top of the dugout. The guy in the costume wasn't hurt, so it's all good.

~ You actually see someone else adopt the Brett Roy style of wearing a jersey. - Seriously, what IS that?

~ Someone mentions the secondary's pass efficiency defense from last year. - This means one of two things: either you read this blog, or you regularly visit Congratulations are in order for both.

I'd like to see this turn into a yearly tradition, so let me know what other ideas you may have to help make this game even more impractical/needlessly complicated next year.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Summer Filler #3: Texas Tech

Thanks to the wave of realignments that swept across college sports last summer, the Big Ten ended up with twelve members and the Big 12 was trimmed down to ten members. Normally this is where I would go on a childish rant about how this is all stupid and makes no sense, but then I thought about the logic behind Louisiana Tech playing in a "Western" Athletic Conference and decided to hold my tongue. Instead, I'll just fix myself a drink and wonder why the sports I follow insist upon being built on foundations of lies.

Texas Tech Red Raiders

The spread offense has been a fixture at Texas Tech in the last decade, first under Mike Leach and now under Tommy Tuberville. But where Leach's teams gained notoriety for almost exclusively passing the ball, Tuberville's teams will seek more balance. The Red Raiders seemed to adjust to this slight change just fine last year, finishing 8-5, playing in their eleventh straight bowl game and winning their second straight.


Scoring: 33.1 ppg (t-23rd)
Rushing: 141.3 ypg (75th)
Passing: 318.9 ypg (7th)
Total: 460.2 ypg (15th)
First Downs: 24.8 pg (9th)
Third Downs Converted: 44.3% (35th)
Red Zone Conversions: 81.8% (t-63rd)


Scoring: 30.9 ppg (93rd)
Rushing: 162.5 ypg (69th)
Passing: 293.8 ypg (118th)
Total: 456.3 ypg (114th)
Sacks: 25.0 (t-60th)
Tackles for Loss: 76.0 (t-54th)
Turnover Margin: -3 (t-70th)

Special Teams

Touchbacks: 21 (t-10th)
Kickoff Returns: 22.4 ypr (51st)
Punts: 40.5 ypr (68th)
Punt Returns: 6.3 ypr (88th)

Some Numbers to Ponder: 1,894 - number of career kickoff return yards junior-to-be Eric Stephens (above) has already racked up, a program record; 7 - number of games last year in which the Texas Tech defense gave up 300 or more passing yards, including three 400+ yard games (Baylor, Texas A&M and Houston); 5-0 - the Red Raiders' record in games decided by eight or fewer points last year.

Stop me if you've heard this routine before: this team had an offense that could move the ball and score points on just about any defense in the nation, but when it came time for their own defense to take the field blah blah blah blah can't stop the pass. Sound familiar? That's because it's the same song and dance we've grown used to hearing for Nevada's teams of the last few years. Needless to say, we here at PWtW can identify with Red Raider fans.

And just like in many of Nevada's previous seasons, these two units had the effect of either propelling the team to lopsided victories or screwing them over en route to puzzling defeats. They beat a Missouri team that finished 10-3 and ranked #18 in both major polls, but also found ways to lose to Texas and Iowa State, who each finished 5-7. Those pass defense numbers, in particular, look like they were the result of Nigel Burton's "expertise."

The Red Raiders are definitely the most difficult to read of all of Nevada's non-conference opponents, and are also the most intriguing one as a result. All five starters return on the offensive line, but gone are the team's top two receivers (Lyle Leong and Detron Lewis), their starting running back (Baron Batch) and quarterback Taylor Potts and his Unabomber beard. The questions on defense center around who will replace defensive tackle Colby Whitlock's experience (49 consecutive starts) and the productivity of linebackers Bront Bird (106 tackles) and Brian Duncan (7 sacks). It also remains to be seen how long long it will take that defense to adjust to new defensive coordinator Chad Glasgow and his new scheme. Additionally, Coach Tuberville's recruiting prowess is already evident in the first full class of his tenure in Lubbock, but how many of those players will be talented enough to play right away, and what kind of impact would they make and where?

Next week we'll check up on the defending Maaco Bowl Las Vegas champion (hurts, doesn't it?) Boise State Broncos.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Summer Filler #2: San Jose State

Is it possible to hype up a team that went 1-12 last year without sounding bored or obligated to do so? I don't know, but I'm about to give it a shot.

San Jose State Spartans

You know those "motivational" posters you occasionally see in office cubicles featuring the phrase "Just Hang in There!" next to a kitten dangling on a tree branch? Well Mike McIntyre slummed his way through a "'Just Hang in There' kitten poster" kind of season in his first year in San Jose, failing to beat a single FBS opponent and even managing to lose to an FCS team along the way.


Scoring: 16.1 ppg (115th)
Rushing: 78.5 ypg (119th)
Passing: 236.5 ypg (45th)
Total: 315.1 ypg (101st)
1st Downs: 15.6 pg (114th)
3rd Downs Converted: 26.0% (120th)
Red Zone Conversions: 78.8% (86th)


Scoring: 34.7 ppg (t-104th)
Rushing: 203.2 ypg (104th)
Passing: 260.5 ypg (111th)
Total: 463.7 ypg (117th)
Sacks: 24.0 (t-65th)
Tackles for Loss: 68.0 (t-76th)
Turnover Margin: -7 (t-98th)

Special Teams

Touchbacks: 8 (t-63rd)
Kickoff Returns: 21.1 ypr (t-76th)
Punts: 40.5 ypp (t-72nd)
Punt Returns: 8.33 ypr (59th)

Some Numbers to Ponder: 14 - number of tackles for loss by Keith Smith, the most all-time by a freshman linebacker; 8.9 - average tackles per game for Smith, the most of any freshman in the country; 32 - number of games which have transpired since the last time the Spartans beat a team that finished the season at .500 or better (Hawai'i in 2008).

In the last decade, the gulf between "have" and "have-not" in the WAC has been one of the biggest discrepancies you'll find in any football conference in the country. On one hand, both of Boise State's Fiesta Bowl seasons stand as testaments to the heights that non-AQ programs can hope to reach with the right pieces in place. But at the other end of the spectrum, when WAC football is bad, it's really bad. Horrifically, stupendously, hilariously bad. Tommy Wiseau bad, even.

Enter the 2010 Spartans. Pretty much the only thing they did right with any kind of consistency was pass, but considering how frequently they played from behind and were no doubt forced to throw, that probably doesn't say much. There just isn't much statistically speaking that stands out about this team in a positive way. They couldn't generate much offense when they had the ball, and they couldn't stop much of anything when they didn't have it. This was a team that was forced by numerous injuries to play lots of young players, and when coupled with a first-year coach and a non-conference schedule that only Cary Groth would seek to emulate, their struggles didn't surprise anyone.

The only upside to experiencing what the Spartans weathered last year is how much it no doubt toughened up the players who lived through it. 1-12 seasons force players like the aforementioned Smith or wide receiver Noel Grigsby to rise to the top and take control of the team heading forward. Truth be told, the Spartans return a lot of starters and have very little to replace heading into 2011. Quarterback Jordan La Secla, wide receiver Jalal Beauchman and a couple of offensive linemen are the only departing players of note -- all the defensive and special teams starters from their last game will be back, and there's usually something to be said for that kind of carryover from one year to the next.

Tune in next week when Summer Fillers profiles the Fighting Bell Ringers of Texas Tech.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Dr. Milton Glick, 1937-2011

The University of Nevada lost a tireless crusader and great ambassador over the weekend. His unceasing devotion to bettering the University and championing its important place in the state was unmatched, but his personal interactions with the people of northern Nevada will leave the widest impression. He believed in the power of the college experience to transform people for the better, and in keeping graduates connected to their alma mater. Nevada Wolf Pack sports will also miss one of its biggest fans. I'll personally remember Dr. Glick for his warmth, openness and level of energy that belied his age. He always had time to stop and listen to people's concerns wherever he was, and it's this dedication to reaching out and building relationships that we should carry on in his memory. My only regret is that the University and the state couldn't have benefited from his leadership under brighter circumstances. Godspeed, Dr. Glick, and thank you for all of your efforts.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Silver and Blue Game Report

Saturday turned out to be quite long and trying for yours truly, but at least it started the right way at the Silver and Blue Game.


- The weather was outstanding. We should know by now that it's not truly the end of winter until Nevada concludes its spring practices.

- The scoring system was a huge departure from other spring games, but I think it was for the better. I personally believe the ways in which to earn points made it a much more equitable way to look at the day's events than other formats can offer. Once you figured out what each kind of play was worth and got past the idea of a TD being worth 10 or 12 points instead of just 7, it was a good system. I hope it returns for next year's game.

- Like most of the crowd size estimates the AD puts out these days, I must call BS on how many people attended the game. 2,500 is more like the low end of what I would guess. But I'm also afraid that if I complain too vocally about it, then those infernal turnstiles will appear at next year's game and everything will go downhill from there. So let's move on.

- It took a few series for the passing game to start clicking, and even then it was sort of hit-or-miss. Each QB had their share of bad throws that were either over, behind or nowhere near their intended receivers. Lantrip had the only passing TD on the day, and didn't do anything to dispel the notion that he's the guy to beat heading into summer and fall. Magleby regressed from his previous scrimmage performances, while Fajardo definitely improved. Either way, look at Kaep's passing stats from last year's spring game and you'll see how little there is to actually glean from these games and what bearing it will have on how good the team will turn out to be (meaning "possibly no bearing whatsoever").

- One thing I'll grant each of the two younger QBs is that they're slippery -- even with swarms of defenders around them, they were often very difficult to catch. Fajardo in particular put together some long runs that looked (dare I say it this early) Kaepernick-esque. Assuming Lantrip stays in front and no one gets injured, the competition for all three QB spots will be fun to watch unfold.

- The running backs continue to impress me. True, we have every reason to believe that Ball and Mark will be fired up to hit the fall practice field when they fully heal up, but that doesn't mean the development of the young guys behind them will be any less meaningful. Keeping the hyperbole to a minimum, both Jefferson and Hale showed flashes of some of the skills that made Taua great, mainly their reading of which blocks to follow and the timing of the cuts they make. In Jefferson's case, I actually think he's a little farther along than Taua was when he was a sophomore. To put it succinctly, Hale just gets stuff done.

- The Union did mostly well. Their run blocking was very good in most cases, but the fact that six different players got past them for sacks was slightly discouraging. But herein lies the central problem of judging any spring game: who deserves the praise and who deserves the criticism?

- The QBs weren't particularly special on this day and neither were the receivers. I, personally, was glad to see Wimberly getting more touches, and I think it's awesome that 49 yards on three catches is considered a "quiet" day for Matthews. Most of the units' drops today could be chalked up to sub-par throws or being snuffed out by their defenders. One thing I was definitely intrigued by were the number of fly sweep hand-offs to receivers in motion. It would seem that the coaches are trying to look for other ways to put the ball in many different receivers' hands, and I like these efforts so far. If it were up to me to pick that third receiver spot right now, I'd have to go with either Session or Anderson.

- It was great to see the defense get out to the start that they did. Forcing two three-and-outs and stopping another drive later was a positive departure from their other two scrimmages.

- The six different sacking players I mentioned earlier is testament to the variety that we're beginning to see in Coach Buh's play-calling. At one point, Faddis got a nice tackle for a loss and I remarked to someone next to me that Coach Burton would never have called a safety blitz when he was here, much less a successful one.

- More often than not, the corners and safeties were in place to make good plays on passes. Granted, a couple of times this resulted in pass interference being called, but how much can you really chew out a player for a penalty in a spring game?

- I'm really interested to see who the second cornerback will be opposite Frey. Thompson and Garrett both had good outings today, and when you throw in James, Wooten and Brown things will only get that much more intense. Hold on to your butts, folks.

- Rosette and Hekking made some good plays at the end spots, with Rosette getting the edge today. This kid just can't seem to do wrong out there and the coaches look really smart for moving him up to the line.

- This observation doesn't really have to do with the spring game, so I'll put it here at the end of my report. I love seeing Roy's intensity and swagger out there. He represents the kind of attitude that this defense has needed for so long: the confidence in one's self and one's ability to kick your butt without crossing the line over into disrespectful territory. But he also flirts with that line once in a while, and seems to enjoy doing so. With that said -- and because I would never ever dream of saying this to his face -- the pulled up jersey look does not suit him. Maybe it's partly a psychological thing like Brian Wilson's beard and I'm not seeing it, but it just doesn't sit well with me. But whatever -- different strokes for different folks.

See you all on Tuesday for another edition of Summer Fillers.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A New Summer Feature

If you're anything like me (first off, congratulations and high fives all around), then a part of you always dreads summertime. Sure, there are plenty of good things about summers in the Truckee Meadows: perfect golfing weather, night games at Aces Ballpark and taking in the wonderful Tahoe scenery on Fourth of July weekend, for starters. But in spite of all of those things, summertime in Reno -- and indeed every other city across this great nation -- suffers from a terrible handicap: no college sports.

After March Madness ends and the last spring football practices conclude, the time from mid-April to about August is the worst time of year to be a fan of college sports. Sure, college baseball lasts into June, but that's merely methadone for this kind of addiction. You can try using those aluminum bats for smashing mailboxes or beating up Boise State fans, but it just isn't the same.

But fear not, for you won't have to endure it alone anymore! This is the first installment of what I'm going to call "Summer Fillers." I'll be taking a look at each of the teams on the 2011 football schedule and give you a brief recap of their 2010 season, break down some stats and take a look at who they lose from their prior season. And if you're not completely satisfied for whatever's filler, so what did you expect?

Oregon Ducks

Nevada opened last year against the eventual FCS national champion Eastern Washington at home. This year they open on the road against the team that was a field goal away from becoming the FBS national champion. "Not quite the same" is an understatement on par with "The Great Wall of China is long."


Scoring: 47.0 ppg (1st)
Rushing: 287.6 ypg (4th)
Passing: 243.1 ypg (39th)
Total: 530.7 ypg (1st)
First Downs: 26.6 pg (1st)
3rd Downs Converted: 44.9% (29th)
Red Zone Conversions: 82.4% (t-56th)


Scoring: 18.7 ppg (12th)
Rushing: 128.1 ypg (27th)
Passing: 217.9 ypg (56th)
Total: 346.0 ypg (34th)
Sacks: 33.0 (t-21st)
Tackles for Loss: 96.0 (t-10th)
Turnover Margin: +13 (t-8th)

Special Teams

Touchbacks: 12 (t-39th)
Kickoff Returns: 21.4 ypr (t-66th)
Punts: 41.8 ypp (44th)
Punt Returns: 16.98 ypr (2nd)

Some Numbers to Ponder: 5 - number of punts the Ducks returned for touchdowns, the most of any team in the country; 158 - number of touchdowns the Nevada and Oregon offenses combined for last year; 4 - number of offensive categories (scoring offense, rushing offense, total offense and first downs per game) in which the Ducks and Wolf Pack both finished the season ranked in the top ten nationally.

The Ducks' offense put up a best-in-the-nation 81 touchdowns last year, and frankly I'm too overcome with awe to whip out a snappy retort for that. Whether watching them on TV or just perusing their stats, it's evident this was a team that struck hard, fast and often when they had the ball. When you're only punting 0.9 times per game while cranking out 47 points per game, it means your offense expects to control every contest and succeeds in doing just that most every week.

The top-shelf talent leading the Ducks in 2011 will include LaMichael James, a Heisman candidate and the nation's leading rusher a year ago, and cornerback/return specialist Cliff Harris, who accounted for four of those five punts returned for touchdowns I mentioned earlier and also pitched in six interceptions on defense. It's nice to see Nevada continuing its tradition of scheduling teams that look quite beatable at one time and then get REALLY good by the time Nevada actually plays them (see Texas Tech and Missouri in '08).

Oregon's offense was a lot like Nevada's in that it centered on a powerful ground game that could shift to a less potent but nonetheless effective passing attack. Defensively, they were actually a little soft ("little" being the key word) as far as the amount of yards they gave up, but as their average points allowed, tackles for loss and turnover margin all show, they stepped up in the most important areas at the most important times.

Odds are that there will still be plenty of talent for the Ducks to boast when the season rolls around, but this isn't to say they still don't have some crucial holes to fill. Receivers Jeff Maehl (the program's most productive receiver ever) and D.J. Davis are gone, as are three offensive linemen (tackle Bo Thran, center Jordan Holmes and guard C.E. Kaiser). Three out of four starting defensive linemen must be replaced, including tackle Brandon Bair and end Kenny Rowe, who combined for nearly one third of the team's tackles for loss. Linebackers Casey Matthews and Spencer Paysinger and corner Talmadge Jackson III round out the departing defenders.

Look for a recap of the Silver and Blue Game some time on Saturday night and a Summer Filler for San Jose State next week.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

April 2nd Scrimmage Report

I was able to head up to Mackay for this morning's scrimmage and took lots of notes just for all twelve of you loyal readers!

You'll also notice that I didn't take any pictures. Yes, I probably could've zoomed in and snapped shots of one player at a time to circumvent whatever concerns the coaching staff no doubt has about formations being photographed, but I wasn't in the mood to draw any more attention to myself than my notepad was already drawing. That, and about 85% of my time at the scrimmage was already being spent scribbling notes about what I was seeing between plays. I write about as fast as a pregnant cow can run, and a multi-tasker I am not.

- I arrived at the stadium when the kickers were practicing field goals right before the scrimmage started. Anthony Martinez is still fairly accurate, but I'd feel better if he worked on extending his range and getting a little more lift under his kicks. Two new transfer kickers followed him: redshirt freshman Allen Hardison (UNLV) and junior Spencer Nolen (Chattanooga). Since each kicker only got about three kicks and none of them were longer than about 35 yards, it's hard to assign much meaning to what I saw. But with that said, I did like the lift the two new kickers put under the ball, and it looked like the potential is there to challenge Martinez during this session.

- The tone was set early on when Tyler Lantrip hit Rishard Matthews on a long touchdown over the middle on the first play. The defense had its moments, but today mostly belonged to the offense. I think we'll be hearing a lot of "Lantrip to Matthews" touchdown calls on the radio this year.

- Matthews was far and away the best receiver out there today. Aaron Bradley was what you'd call "solid if unspectacular" and L.J. Washington made some nice plays, but also dropped what would've been an easy touchdown pass. The only TE who caught some passes was Kolby Arendse, and the one pass that Necho Beard hauled in was a sight to behold. Corbin Louks couldn't haul in anything today -- hopefully it won't discourage him going forward. Aside from a great 4th down catch where he kept fighting to reach the corner of the end zone, Brandon Wimberly was fairly quiet.

- The only three running backs who saw action today were Stefphon Jefferson, Nick Hale and Nathan Lytle, and I was pretty impressed with the first two. Jefferson strung together a couple of sideline runs where he showed good cutting and juking skills, but he also took lots of punishment on some decent runs up the middle. Hale showed surprising speed on a 20-ish-yard touchdown run to his right and has some shake-n-bake moves of his own. Hopefully their performances today will put the impetus on Ball and Mark when they recover.

- It was a pretty good day for the Union on the whole. The pass protection was better than average and the run blocking was excellent from what I could discern. But I also admit I didn't pay as close attention as I could've to this facet of the offense.

- This brings me to the quarterbacks. For every great connection to a receiver I saw, there was a pass that would go over their heads or that they were forced to throw away due to defensive pressure. There's already some good chemistry on display between them and the receivers, but I'm also interested in seeing how they progress between now and the spring game. I was genuinely surprised to see that Magleby threw for the most yards in the practice's final stats, because there's still a general feeling that Lantrip is the guy to beat. He and Magleby both showcased some good scrambling skills, be it on a zone read or a broken play like when Magleby ran for his touchdown.

- There was a moment when Fajardo bobbled a snap and lost a few yards as he was forced to fall on it. I suddenly realized then just how much we may have taken Kaep for granted these last few years. The best summary I can offer for today's quarterback play was seeing Magleby drop another snap before recovering, scrambling to his right and hitting a wide open Matthews for another long touchdown. Finding the new starting quarterback will be a long process for these three players, and I think there will be equal parts great plays and growing pains before a starter is officially named.

- On the whole, there wasn't too much that could be easily picked out from the defense's play today. They forced a couple of three-and-outs, and held off a score or two after the offense moved within scoring distance, but there just wasn't much you could quickly point to and say "That was awesome defense!"

- DeAndre Boughton and Dean Faddis were the leading tacklers with 5 apiece. Charles Garrett had the day's only interception, which came on a Fajardo pass that was slightly under-thrown, but Tyler Thompson should've picked off another pass in the end zone from (I think) Magleby. The two sacks both came from linebackers: Jeremiah Green and Brandon Marshall.

- The run defense was solid against runs up the middle, but seemed to have trouble keeping containment when the backs went outside the hash marks. The secondary stayed with their receivers most of the time, but broke down and gave up their share of open catches a few times as well.

- The best hit of the day came from a player I hadn't even heard of before it happened. Wimberly took a hand-off on a fly sweep to the right just before David Jamieson -- a sophomore from Reno High -- snuck past his blocker and absolutely DRILLED him. He got knocked backwards about three or four yards and you could hear everyone in the stadium react to the hit.

- I saw a few intriguing adjustments that were worth mentioning. Sam Foster, for example, was listed on my roster as a DE, but lined up at tackle next to Brett Roy a couple of times. I could've sworn I also saw Brandon Marshall getting some action at DE as well.

That's what I can tell you about today's scrimmage. I'll head up to whatever practices I can and see what I can gather from here on out.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Breaking News!!!

I felt a story of this magnitude speaks for itself. God help us all.

Kaepernick Revealed to be Robot from Future

Reno, NV -- In a startling revelation which has shaken the foundations of humankind's perceptions of time and space, former University of Nevada football player Colin Kaepernick was revealed to have actually been a highly intelligent, self-aware robot sent to the present from the distant future.

Addressing a stunned crowd of assembled scientists and physicists through a temporal rip, the robot formerly known as Kaepernick explained why it first came to Reno in 2006.

"I was sent to your time by my creators for a single purpose: the destruction of what would've been Boise State's national championship season," it said, "and the preservation of the world you know."

The picture that first hinted at Kaepernick's true nature.

According to the machine, its creators inhabited a bleak future in which Boise State's 2010 championship fostered a master race of arrogant, self-absorbed fans immune to reason and completely unaware of the concepts of heartbreak and losing. Schoolchildren recited the Boise State fight song instead of the Pledge of Allegiance. Television stations were forced to eliminate their programming and show a continuous loop of the 2007 Fiesta Bowl. All religions -- save for the Church of Saint Petersen the Infallible -- were abolished.

"Their malice and smugness knew no bounds," continued the robot, "and it wasn't long before they proceeded to dominate the entire planet with their brand of prickish douchebaggery. The punishment for rooting for another team was death."

It was into this dystopian nightmare that a group of defiant scientists created the robot known as Colin Kaepernick. Operating in secret and constantly under suspicion by their blue-and-orange-clad overlords, the scientists were able to create a portal to the year 2006 and sent their creation back to the Reno of that time.

"They gave me the basic tools they felt I would need to earn a scholarship," said the robot, "but they ultimately placed their faith in Coach Chris Ault to shape me into a true weapon."

Like a heavyweight boxer undergoing intense training for a title fight, the robot was slowly but surely molded into the player which fans recognize now. All the setbacks and losses of its first three years, said the machine, were part of the plan that culminated on the night of November 26th, 2010.

"I treated the previous seasons as learning experiences. I used them to acquire more knowledge, to become more intelligent and better prepared to meet the Bronco menace for the final time," it explained. "They were a powerful threat, but their lack of experience with real adversity was their greatest weakness."

When faced with this revelation, many of the robot's former teammates were only mildly surprised.

"That's news to me, but it would definitely explain a lot," said Rishard Mathews, one of the robot's favorite recipients of its high-velocity passes. "I could've sworn I saw wires sticking out of his ears one day -- he tried to play it cool and said 'Don't all humans have them?'"

Asked by a scientist if he had any parting words of wisdom for the past he was sent to protect, the robot thought for a moment before answering.

"If you're a fan of the Broncos -- or any other team -- don't be a jerk."

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