LAS VEGAS - OCTOBER 02: Nevada Reno Wolf Pack head coach Chris Ault (C) is flanked by quarterbacks Tyler Lantrip #16 and Mason Magleby #13 as Ault watches his players take on the UNLV Rebels at Sam Boyd Stadium October 2 2010 in Las Vegas Nevada. Nevada Reno won 44-26. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Not all Nevada fans are bird-flipping, Keno-playing bandwagon honkies. Many of them are very pleasant people who simply chose the wrong path in life. Nevada website Silver and Blue Sports is where the good ones go to hang out and where OBNUG friend Andrew Maurins calls home. Andrew offered to explain this year's Nevada team from a far more level-headed perspective than I could ever achieve. The interview is after the jump.
If you are looking for good Nevada news and information, then a) what is wrong with you, we hate Nevada and b) you should check out Silver and Blue Sports. It's like Bronco Country except without the heavy hand of Scout.com. Plus, Andrew writes for them, and he's enjoyable.
Here are Andrew's answers to OBNUG's questions.
1. Describe your team's season-to-date as if you were pitching a movie. Make me emotionally invested.
OK, Mr. Studio Executive, how does this sound?
There's this football team coming off of their best season ever, but everyone of note is gone and there's a bunch of these misfits and outcasts who are charged with replacing them. At first, everyone has a really hard time figuring out who they are and what they do best, and not playing at home the first month of the year leads to your standard friction and on-field struggles. Your two protagonists are like the leads in an 80s buddy cop movie: the no-nonsense, by-the-numbers veteran (Tyler Lantrip) and the hot shot rookie who thinks he already knows everything (Cody Fajardo). They have to find a way to get along while answering to the hard-boiled police chief (Coach Chris Ault) who oversees the whole operation.
It's called "Gone 'til October" -- you'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll wonder what their athletic director was thinking when she put the schedule together.
2. If Boise State could pick one player from your team to come play with them, who would it be? If you could pick one Boise State player to go play for your team, who would it be? Explain.
Always a good pair of questions. I'd probably bring over Shea McClellin or Tyrone Crawford to give the defense something which resembles a decent pass rush. Brett Roy can't do it all by himself, even if he does resemble the Technoviking.
As for the other swap, I was really surprised to see that Boise State's running game is only averaging 3.38 yards per carry as of this week. I know I made a similar call last year that caused some consternation, but I'd suggest putting Mike Ball back there (almost two more yards per carry and nearly the same yards per game output as the Broncos' entire unit).
3. Pretend that your team is a collection of bowl games. What part is the Rose Bowl (strength) and what part is the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl (weakness)?
We still run in Reno, and we still do it pretty well. After many stops and starts, Mike Ball has been anointed the next "Nevada Back" and he hasn't disappointed so far. Couple that with a very capable back-up in Stefphon Jefferson and what will (hopefully) be the start of more substantial playing time for Cody Fajardo and I think the pistol will remain in good hands.
It pains me to say it, but the entire defense has been "Famous Idaho Potato Bowl" personified (although I kinda like that bowl's name, for the record -- it's the tie-ins that make it weak). They were out of their element and unprepared for Oregon and they don't seem to have fully recovered since then. They can't find a consistent pass rush, they've been soft against the run and they've lost their focus at very inopportune times.
4. Name three keys to victory for your team. Name one key to certain defeat.
Well, for starters, running the ball as if their lives depend on it goes without saying. It's still what they do best. The Bronco rushing defense has been a little lacking so far, and it would keep Kellen and Company off the field. Second, they have to convert on every scoring opportunity they create. Settling for field goals after running out of gas inside the ten won't cut it this week. Third, they have to (somehow) get enough stops on defense that their offense isn't tasked with single-handedly keeping the team in the game. This could be much easier said than done.
Defeat will be certain if they can't hold on to the ball long enough to do anything with it (frequent three-and-outs and/or untimely turnovers).
5. On a scale of fast food restaurants, with Taco Bell being not at all and Dairy Queen being supremely, how confident are you that your team will win on Saturday?
Mmm...Turtle Pecan Cluster Blizzard *drools*...no! Focus!
Last week was a big step forward for the offense, but I still haven't seen enough out of either the defense or special teams that would lead me to believe they could contribute to a victory on Saturday. I hope I'm proven wrong, but I'd put my current confidence at about a Del Taco level (which is to say a 4 out of 10, if you'd prefer another scale).
The blog bet
Silver and Blue Sports graciously declined our request for a blog bet this year. Something about journalistic integrity or whatever. I wasn't listening. I was too busy adapting Meet Joe Black into a Kellen Moore movie script.
What do you think about Andrew's objective Nevada information? Does hearing a Nevada fan rail against the Nevada defense make you feel more confident? Does the idea of replacing Doug Martin with Mike Ball make your eyes bleed with rage? Share your thoughts in the comments.