Andrew Maurins of Nevada website Silver and Blue Sports is not like your typical Wolf Pack fan, which is to say he has never flipped off Billy Winn on a football field. He is civil and smart and willing to share from his exorbitant amount of Nevada football info so as to help us get a better feel for this Nevada team. He is a nice guy, like you and me, except that he chose his favorite football team very poorly.
1. If your team's season-to-date was a book, what book would it be and why?
Time for this library employee to shine! I'd go with IT by Stephen King, but lots of his other works could be used just as easily.
It starts off promising enough (i.e. beating Cal on the road), with a well-constructed narrative populated by genuinely interesting characters (the receiving corp's unexpected versatility, the maturation along the defensive line), but glaring plot holes and other inconsistencies begin to crop up (losing to South Florida, struggling to beat the likes of Northwestern State and UNLV, defense in general), and they all culminate in a bizarre and unsatisfying climax (failing to beat a single team with a winning record, losing three games in a row at one point). Not unlike Stephen King's works, this Wolf Pack team had a great set up which has given way to a poor pay-off.
2. Nevada is ranked No. 10 in total offense and No. 88 in total defense. Is this too high, too low, or just right?
When looked at on their own, statistics don't lie, and both of those numbers are about right for this team. The offense continues to pile up lots of points, with the receiving corps in particular exceeding expectations, while the defense continues to spin its wheels in futility due to inexperience at key positions and a scheme that often seems too conservative. What's most troubling is that there have been times when the opposite has been true - the defense getting big stops while the offense makes equally big mistakes - and the team has still found ways to lose.
3. If you could pick any three people to join your team, who would you choose?
Any three people from anywhere/anytime? Genghis Khan, Chuck Norris, and the Hulk (on a side note, "Chuck Norris and the Hulk" would be a great name for a post-modern punk band).
Optional: If you could pick any three people to watch the game with you, who would you choose?
Bobby Bowden or another long-tenured head coach (being able to pick their brain and hear their various insights would be a fantastic learning experience), Eva Mendes (for arm candy), and Craig James (for someone to punch in between plays if things on the field get boring).
4. Name three keys to victory for your team. Name one key to certain defeat.
Shake off any bad breaks that come your way. It seems like most every game against Boise State begins with Nevada coming out flat while Boise builds up a multi-score lead. They can't let an early score get the best of them, or else the game will get out of hand very quickly. With both team's bowl fates more or less decided and Nevada with no conference title to play for, this is especially important.
If you can get off the field on third down, do it. Don't let Boise extend their drives by giving up big plays on third downs. If it comes down to exchanging punts and jockeying for field position, that's not an entirely bad thing. Just don't let one converted third down turn into three, four or five in a row. Barring unprecedented embarrassment, Nevada's offense will score at some point, but they can't do it if they're still waiting to come off the bench.
What the heck? Be aggressive! Like I said before, we all know where both teams are probably going no matter what happens on Saturday. So with that in mind, what does Nevada have to lose by throwing one more deep route, trying one more blitz package or (dare I say it amongst Bronco fans) utilizing that trick play collecting dust in the playbook? Stay loose and have fun! For all we know, it'll probably be the last time we see Boise State at Mackay for a long while.
Whatever they do, they cannot play tight or conservative for long stretches. I've seen enough of this year's team to know that asking for a complete four quarter game is too much. Instead, I'll set the bar at "not letting the game get out of reach before halftime" and go from there.
5. On a scale of beverages, with V8 juice being "not at all" and cherry Dr. Pepper being "supremely", how confident are you that your team will win on Saturday?
A nice, safe Diet Coke, which is to say not overly optimistic or pessimistic. Truthfully, I haven't had a chance to sit down and really watch much footage on Boise State like I have in previous years. The stats and box scores I've seen, however, lead me to believe they're entirely beatable if certain things happen. My hope is to see a carefree (but determined) Wolf Pack team use this game as an opportunity to breathe some positive life into their season.
BONUS: Word association.
- Kellen Moore: Dainty. And short.
- Colin Kaepernick: NFL STARTER!!! *Giddy squealing*
- Blue turf: Equally ingenious and tacky.
- Big East: Tulane......? Really?
- Mountain West: What channel is that on again?
- Reno: My often misunderstood home.
- Keno: Old people.
- Chris Ault: Also often misunderstood. And also short.
- Chris Petersen: The Ned Flanders to Ault's Homer Simpson.
- Vegas Bowl: Oxymoron (don't ever change, UNLV football).
- New Mexico Bowl: ...Meh.
- Famous Idaho Potato Bowl: Still kickin', incredibly.
- Dogs in birthday hats: Delightful, but no costumes, please.
For more Nevada news and notes, head to Silver and Blue Sports. I won't tell anyone you were there.