Joe Santoro
For the Nevada Appeal

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June 21, 2013
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Wolf Pack’s Polian needs a history lesson

Sports fodder for a Friday morning . . . Nevada Wolf Pack football coach Brian Polian was quoted in an ESPN.com story last week stating “there isn’t a lot of tradition here.” Not a lot of tradition at Nevada? Wolf Pack football has existed since 1896. The school’s greatest coach, Chris Ault, is in the College Football Hall of Fame. The Wolf Pack has been a national innovator on offense since the end of World War II. Dozens of Pack players have gone on to the NFL. The school has a century worth of great moments, players and tradition. Polian, though, for some reason, wants everyone to believe that he is building a program from scratch.

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New athletic director Doug Knuth and Polian need to get on the same page. One of the challenges Ault experienced the last nine years is that his relationship with athletic director Cary Groth was like a pairing of Tiger Woods and Sergio Garcia. That needs to end for football to become a true national power at Nevada. The relationship of Boise State athletic director Gene Bleymaier and his coaches was a big key for the Broncos’ success. That’s never really happened at Nevada the past 60 years other than when Ault was both coach and A.D. Knuth went out of his way to kiss the older boosters’ behinds and connect with the Wolf Pack tradition by quickly naming the field at Mackay Stadium after Ault. And now Polian is quoted in a national story as saying there isn’t a lot of tradition at Nevada. That’s a slap in the face of Ault and every player who ever put on a helmet for him.

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Give Knuth and Polian time to grow into their new jobs. They will stumble along the way. And that’s OK. The waters, after all, weren’t always calm with Ault in control of either the football program or athletic department or both the past 37 years. Whether they know it or not, neither Knuth or Polian knows a thing about Nevada other than what the first hand-shaking, back-slapping, schmoozing Pack fans to greet them have told them. Also don’t forget that Knuth didn’t hire Polian. They don’t know each other yet. They don’t know how each other thinks. Their relationship is key to the success of Pack football the next five years.

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Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel needs to grow up. He needs to get off Twitter and stop acting like he is Hugh Hefner in the 1960s. He’s becoming the Lindsay Lohan of college football. Manziel tweeted this week that he can’t wait to leave College Station, Texas. Johnny Football is turning into Johnny Foot in the Mouth. Manziel better settle down and realize that this is the greatest time of his life. He needs to enjoy college football and savor every moment. What Manziel doesn’t realize is that he is a 6-foot quarterback. There just aren’t many 6-foot quarterbacks in the NFL. He better be nice to everyone in College Station because those folks might be the only ones who remember and care about him five years from now.

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Why would Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers want to work for Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling? Yes, Rivers would have Chris Paul and the overrated Blake Griffin with the Clippers. And Kevin Garnett will likely accompany him from Boston to Los Angeles. But all that will get him is 50 wins and a second-round exit from the playoffs every year. Rivers would be better off staying in Boston and rebuilding the Celtics or waiting until the Los Angeles Lakers and New York Knicks come calling.

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Forget football and basketball. If you want to make a ton of money without really accomplishing anything, learn how to throw a baseball. Braden Shipley pitched just two years for the Nevada Wolf Pack, a program that hasn’t sniffed the NCAA regionals in 13 years. Shipley was a very good pitcher but he didn’t dominate and simply blow hitters away. He wasn’t Stephen Strasburg. The Wolf Pack definitely wasn’t unbeatable when he pitched. Performance, though, means nothing to major league scouts. It’s all about potential. Shipley was the 15th player selected in the major league amateur draft earlier this month and is now $2.25 million richer. Tom Jameson goes 7-2 with a 2.55 earned run average as a junior in 2012 and doesn’t even get drafted. Shipley goes 7-3 with a 2.77 ERA in 2013 as a junior and is now a multi-millionaire. The difference? Shipley lit up the scouts’ radar guns.

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Miami Heat fans don’t deserve a NBA championship. Ever. They don’t deserve LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Ray Allen or even a mention in one of Chris Andersen’s tattoos. Thousands of so-called Heat fans left the arena early in Game 6 when their team was losing only to miss the Heat’s amazing comeback victory. Who leaves a NBA Finals game early? I understand leaving a Reno Aces game when the temperature is in the 40s, the wind is making you ponder the meaning of life and the clock is approaching 11 p.m. But a NBA Finals game? With James, one of the greatest players in the history of the sport, on the floor and wearing your team’s uniform? Heat fans are front-running frauds.


Article Topics: High School Football


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The Nevada Appeal Updated Jun 21, 2013 12:47AM Published Jun 21, 2013 12:47AM Copyright 2013 The Nevada Appeal. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.