Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Spring rewind: Nevada
By Andrea Adelson
Here is a look at where Nevada stands headed into the offseason:
Questions answered: The biggest question was who will replace Colin Kaepernick behind center. Though coach Chris Ault has not officially named a starter, he did say Tyler Lantrip was the man to beat. Lantrip had a good spring, and went 8-of-18 for 108 yards with one touchdown passing and one rushing in the spring game. Quarterbacks Mason Magleby and Cody Fajardo also impressed Ault this spring. Receiver looks to be an area of strength with the continued improvement of Rishard Matthews, who had an excellent spring after coming on strong in the second half of 2010. This could bode well for the Wolf Pack because Lantrip is better as a passer than a runner. Running back also is an area of depth and strength with the emergence of two more players during the spring -- junior college transfer Nick Hale and Stefphon Jefferson did well as projected starter Mike Ball and Lampford Mark sat out most of the drills while they recovered from injuries. This obviously is an important position in the Pistol offense, one that loses 1,000-yard back Vai Taua.
Questions unanswered: The defense showed much improvement last season, but will have some big questions once fall practice rolls around. Starting defensive ends Ryan Coulson and Dontay Moch are gone, leaving bookend holes on the defensive line. Then there was more bad news during the spring. Kaelin Burnett, the heir apparent to Moch, will miss the season with a broken pelvis. Nevada signed five defensive ends, and some are expected to play, including former UCLA signee Rykeem Yates. The good news is defensive tackle Brett Roy had a good spring and linebackers James-Michael Johnson and Brandon Marshall return. What could be a problem on defense is depth, and that could be a big issue in the brutal opening stretch of the season.
Spring stars: Jefferson had 137 yards and two touchdowns on 10 carries in the spring game. Safety Dean Faddis also had a good spring and a great spring game, with five tackles and a forced fumble.