Joe Santoro

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October 4, 2013
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Friday Fodder: Bubble boy staring Cody Fajardo

Sports fodder for a Friday morning . . . The Nevada Wolf Pack needs to cover quarterback Cody Fajardo in bubble wrap between games, put him in a secret hotel with an armed guard outside his door, deliver food to his room and hire cheerleaders to do his homework. Fajardo’s continued good health, after all, is the one thing that is keeping this Wolf Pack football season from melting away right before our eyes. We were all reminded how important Fajardo is last Saturday against Air Force. There is no way the Wolf Pack wins that game without Fajardo. In many ways Fajardo is more important to the Wolf Pack now than Colin Kaepernick was from 2007-10. This is a very flawed Wolf Pack team but Fajardo is the great equalizer. He is Chris Ault’s last great gift to the university.

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We will begin to find out tonight at San Diego State just how good this Wolf Pack team can be. The Aztecs are as flawed as the Pack but the game is the Pack’s first test. All the Pack has done so far is hold serve. They’ve beaten three bad teams at home and lost to two good teams on the road. This entire season is all about whether or not the Pack can go on the road later in the year and win at Fresno State and Boise State. A win tonight at San Diego State is a step in the right direction.

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Things seem to be falling into place for this Pack team this year. San Diego State is a team in turmoil right now. They are playing a walk-on quarterback (Quinn Kaehler). Their best running back (Donnel Pumphrey) is a freshman that weighs 165 pounds. Their best defensive player (Jake Fely) is out for the year with an injury. They got trounced at home by a Division I-AA team (Eastern Illinois). They had to rally last week to beat a bad New Mexico State team. They are ripe for the picking: Wolf Pack 38, San Diego State 24.

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Brian Polian has done a commendable job so far with this Wolf Pack team. Yes, they’ve had to grind out some ugly wins. But don’t forget that the Pack is coming off a season in which they repeatedly grinded out ugly loss after another. That victory against Air Force was very similar to games they would have lost last year. The players seem to enjoy playing for Polian and his staff. His energy on the sideline seemed to will the Pack to a victory against Air Force. He’s focused. He’s smart. He has a plan. This team has already had to play three quarterbacks and three running backs and a host of linebackers and offensive linemen. It hasn’t been easy. But they are 3-2 and headed to a game on the road they can win. Give Polian time. The Pack will win with Polian. And it might be sooner than we thought.

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Major League Baseball’s one-game Wild Card round is a joke. That’s not baseball. Nothing in baseball should be decided in one game unless that one game is preceded by 162 games in the regular season or four or six games in the postseason. One-game, winner-take-all matchups are OK for football, college basketball tournaments and Wimbledon. But not baseball. The Cleveland Indians played their hearts out all season, won their last 10 regular season games and won a Wild Card spot. And then their postseason ended in one game. Baseball should call the Wild Card round what it is — a play-in game. The Indians and Cincinnati Reds ended up being the Liberty, Middle Tennessee, LIU Brooklyn and Boise State of Major League Baseball.

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Is the pistol offense on life support in the NFL? The San Francisco 49ers barely run it anymore with Kaepernick. The Washington Redskins are afraid to run it with Robert Griffin III. The best quarterbacks in the league still are classic drop back guys like Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers. The pistol will likely never die completely. You’ll still see the pistol formation. But it’s just window dressing. The quarterbacks in the NFL aren’t doing much read option. NFL quarterbacks simply are too valuable to be allowed to run the ball a dozen times a game each and every week. The pistol isn’t just a passing fad in the NFL. But it isn’t revolutionizing the league either.

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Tim Tebow must be the worst quarterback in the history of the NFL. How else can you explain the Jacksonville Jaguars, who are truly one of the worst teams in the history of the NFL, electing to go with Chad Henne and Blaine Gabbert at quarterback without even giving Tebow a look? Tebow could run for Governor of Florida and win. Jaguars games would at least be interesting with Tebow running around. They might even win a game or two. But the Jags, who have scored just three touchdowns all season, would rather bore people to death and lose by three touchdowns every week than put Tebow on their roster.


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The Nevada Appeal Updated Oct 4, 2013 12:23AM Published Oct 4, 2013 12:23AM Copyright 2013 The Nevada Appeal. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.