Well, it's not 2012 yet, but SBN's Mountain West site Mountain West Connection is still riding high on the hog for Nevada information. That is how good they are. Not just knowledgeable about the current MWC, they are knowledgeable about the future MWC.
With the Cal-Nevada game looming on the horizon, we thought we'd talk with Jeremy Mauss at the Mountain West Connection regarding the Nevada team. What should we expect from the offense? What should we expect from the defense? Mountain West Connection takes a moment to answer our questions and you can see all that (and more!) after the jump. GO BEARS!
1. Chris Ault came out of retirement a few years ago to (re)assume the reins of the Nevada football program. What's the feeling of the Nevada Wolfpack faithful about how Ault has done in his return to the program?
He has done a great job and has improved the team each year and has guided them to five bowl games in six years. His pistol offense is so unique and that gives him an edge over opposing defenses. It is similar to when a team prepares for a run option team, because it is so different and a ton of things can be done from that formation. Everyone loves Ault and with a Senior quarterback a lot of Wolfpack fans are feeling this could be a ten win season with all of the returning talent.
2. Everyone knows that Colin Kaepernick is a serious stud and the pistol offense is formidable. What are your feelings with regards to the defense. It looks like there have been some struggles there, especially with the pass defense. Have any changes been made since last year?
The defense has been a sore spot for them, because it seems that all of the attention goes to the offense, and they want the defense to make a few stops and allow the offense to outscore the other team. All they really need to be is in the upper half of the WAC to be able to get over the hump to that ten win plateau. However, giving up 270 yards to Eastern Washington is troubling as is allowing a 65% completion rate to a bad Colorado State. Transfer Corbin Louks from Utah who moved from quarterback to safety was to help in the pass defense but he is injured and may miss the Cal game and beyond.
3. The strength of the Cal defense is its front seven, especially its defensive line (they've made life miserable for quarterbacks this season). How well equipped is Nevada to handle a physical, aggressive front seven?
The end of the game is where Nevada would be concerned because of the better athletes Cal has compared to Nevada. The way the offense works with misdirection and speed that can make even a great defensive front look silly at times. With an agressive defense the option plays that Nevada runs is another way offset that type of defense. The running game will get the yards regardless of who they play, but protecting on passing downs could be an issue and is where Cal could cause some real problems for Nevada.
4. If Nevada falls behind by more than one touchdown, does Colin Kapernick have the arm to pass his team back into the lead?
He has the arm and the receivers but he needs the time to throw the ball. The first two opponents were nothing special in Eastern Washington and Colorado State put he did complete over 70 percent in both games. Nevada relies more on the run and can pass if needed, but to mount a comeback it can be tough. I think if Nevada gets down two touchdowns then they will be in trouble.
5. What went wrong in last years losses, notably the losses to Notre Dame, Colorado State, and Southern Methodist (who lost to Washinton State!)?
Really not sure, because after those games Nevada rolled and had three different 1,000 yard rushers. The Colorado State loss was the most hurtful since they ended up losing their final nine games. All I can say is that the offense gelled together after those loses. The SMU loss was just a bad game since the Ponies got off to a fast start and Nevada had nothing going for themselves. SMU just exploited the Nevada pass defense and took advantage of that with their fast start and Nevada just had nothing going on offensively. Notre Dame was probably the most frustrating loss since we all saw how bad the Notre Dame defense was and getting shut out was an embarrassment for that offense.
6. How do you feel about moving to the MWC next season? What do you think will happen to the WAC?
Moving to the Mountain West is a step up even with Utah and BYU leaving the league. There will be no games against New Mexico State or Idaho, and even though New Mexico and Colorado State are bad they are historically much better then those schools and have a chance to get better. There is an outside shot of a BCS bid if things fall right in the future, but competition is the reason. The WAC will hang around for a few years, but they will need to add at least two teams by the summer of 2012 to get to eight and keep their conference affiliation in football. Louisiana Tech may leave and join the Sun Belt while Hawaii may go independent so their future looks real bad. Karl Benson may have to dip into the FCS poll for teams, but with a few California FCS schools joining the Big Sky the WAC is in deep trouble. I think the WAC is dead in five years.
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