Coach Ault and the Wolf Pack are expecting big things in Nevada this season. The Wolf Pack finished 7-6 last season with a loss to Maryland in the Humanitarian Bowl, but they are returning some key players on both sides of the ball, which is good news for Nevada fans. Four of their losses last year were by seven points or less.
The offense has plenty of weapons to support their Pistol style offense. Colin Kaepernick is back at quarterback and provides a dual threat at the position. Last year, he rushed for over 1,000 yards and threw for more than 2,000. He was also the second Nevada player ever, to be named the Western Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Year in 2008.
The Wolf Pack will have a pair of backs who can get it done on the ground. Vai Taua rushed for 1,521 yards, and 15 touchdowns. Taua was not only reliable on the ground, but also through the air. He caught 30 passes for 3 touchdowns and 243 yards in the air. Due to a knee injury, Luke Lippincott, was not able to play much in 2008, but will provide some depth at the position in 2009. He hopes to return to the form he was in before last season, where he rushed for over 1,000 yards.
With two of the leading receivers gone, Chris Wellington, will need to step up at wide out. He caught six touchdowns last season and had 632 yards, but will be looked upon as the go-to-guy for Kaepernick. The line should be pretty solid as they return three starters from a year ago, where they only gave up 1.46 sacks per game.
The pass defense was atrocious last season, giving up 311 yards per game, which is 119th in the nation! This needs to change for the Wolf Pack to be successful. Kevin Basped and Dontay Moch will be back at the ends, applying pressure where they helped average 2.85 sacks per game, which was the best in the conference.
The secondary is the weak spot on the defense. Jonathan Amaya, Mo Harvey and Antonio Thompson will need to step up and improve their coverage, or we will see a repeat of last year with teams throwing all over the Wolf Pack.
It comes down to how well the secondary can play. The offense should be explosive enough to put up plenty of points, but that will not matter if the passing defense does not get their act together.Prediction: 8-4