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November 22, 2013
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Burton is finally taking over for Wolf Pack

Sports fodder for a Friday morning ... The Nevada Wolf Pack men’s basketball team is better than it was a year ago. Honest. Yes, you might not see it yet. They are, after all, just 2-2 against a soft schedule and could very well be 0-4 if not for two lucky wins on the road against bad teams. The team still doesn’t rebound very well, it still can’t defend the paint and the bench, well, let’s just say they really only need two chairs. But they are indeed better for one simple reason. It’s Deonte Burton’s world. The senior guard rarely leaves the floor and he doesn’t pass the ball all that much. He’s averaging 38.5 minutes, 25 points and just two assists a game. And there’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, it’s about time.


If the Wolf Pack football team does nothing else next Saturday afternoon against BYU, it needs to make sure Brandon Wimberly goes out in a blaze of glory on Senior Day. Wimberly, who has been with the program since 2008 and endured a near fatal gunshot wound in 2011, is one of the toughest players to ever wear the silver and blue. Not much has gone right this season. But one of the best things was Wimberly coming back for a sixth season and becoming one of the top receivers in the nation. Wimberly, who needs 13 catches against BYU to reach 100 this season, was never flashy. He was just a blue collar player who worked harder than everyone else, never displayed an ego and simply showed up to play on every single snap of his career.


In recent weeks Colin Kaepernick has been a quarterback who needs to spend some more time on the sideline holding a clipboard. But Kaepernick’s only problem is Jim Harbaugh. The San Francisco 49ers coach, it seems, is trying to turn Kaepernick into Andrew Luck, his former Stanford quarterback. Kaepernick will never be a pocket passer, checking three or four receivers and making great decisions and throws. That’s never been his strength. That’s why Kaepernick right now looks confused, frustrated and, well, like a guy who is simply trying to please his coach. Kaepernick tried to please Chris Ault at Nevada but Ault always kept it simple for Kaepernick in the passing game. And he always allowed Kaepernick a dozen or so plays a game to simply do what he does best. Run wild and demoralize a defense. Harbaugh needs to turn his quarterback loose.


Kaepernick and the 49ers are facing a huge game this Monday against the Washington Redskins. A loss on Monday and the 49ers might not even make the playoffs. But this game has even more meaning than the playoff picture. It’s a chance for Kaepernick to show that he is indeed one of the top young quarterbacks in the league. So far in his career Kaepernick is 0-4 against the future star quarterbacks in the league, losing to Russell Wilson twice and Cam Newton and Andrew Luck once. If you don’t think that is important to Kaepernick, well, you don’t know Kaepernick. He needs to beat Robert Griffin III on Monday.


Who got the best of the Prince Fielder for Ian Kinsler blockbuster trade? Both are great players. Both still have a half dozen or so prime seasons remaining in their careers. Trading Fielder allows the Tigers to insert hotshot prospect Nick Castellanos into the lineup at third (Miguel Cabrera will move to first) and trading Kinsler allows the Texas Rangers to give an everyday job to phenom Jurickson Profar at second. Fielder is one of the premier power hitters in the game and could hit 50 homers in Texas. Kinsler is one of the top offensive second baseman in the game and could score 125 runs in front of Cabrera. This is a trade you normally only see in fantasy baseball.


The Pro Football Hall of fame announced its finalists for this years class and, well, there needs to be an investigation if Charles Haley, Roger Craig, Ray Guy and Tim Brown are not voted in once again. Guy is arguably the greatest punter to ever play the game. Haley was a dominant pass rusher for a dozen years and is still the only player to win five Super Bowls.

Craig (with Bill Walsh’s help) revolutionized the position of running back, becoming the first player to gain 1,000 yards both rushing and receiving in the same season. And Brown was the ultimate professional, catching 1,094 passes for 100 touchdowns and nearly 15,000 yards while playing with a ton of bad quarterbacks.


The Dallas Cowboys, it seems, are content with merely being mediocre. The Cowboys haven’t made the playoffs since 2009. They are just 2-7 in the postseason since 1995. Head coach Jason Garrett has a career record of just 26-24, has finished 8-8 the last two years and is just 5-5 this season. Owner Jerry Jones, though, came out this week and said Garrett will be the head coach next year. This is the perfect example of why there is no real incentive to win in the NFL. As long as you have a huge stadium that you fill every week (they fill high school stadiums in Texas) and as long as the television networks fill everyone’s pockets with cash, you can do quite nicely in the NFL.

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The Nevada Appeal Updated Nov 22, 2013 01:03AM Published Nov 22, 2013 01:03AM Copyright 2013 The Nevada Appeal. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.