ESPN: Your authority on ‘Nick’ Ault and Nevada | NevadaAppeal.com

ESPN: Your authority on ‘Nick’ Ault and Nevada

By JOE SANTORO

Sports fodder for a Friday morning . . .

ESPN — the cable TV station, the radio network, the magazine, the non-stop hype machine — sure has been kind to the Wolf Pack this summer. Commentator Trevor Matich said on Wednesday that Pack quarterback Colin Kaepernick is probably the best quarterback in the country that you haven’t heard of and that Nick Graziano is the best backup in the country. ESPN The Magazine has also declared the Wolf Pack as the 10th best team in the nation (unfortunately Fresno State was No. 2 and Boise State No. 5) among schools not in the top Bowl Championship Series conferences. How much credence should we give ESPN’s knowledge of the Wolf Pack? Well, on that same broadcast on Wednesday, Matich gave the Wolf Pack a new coach. Somebody named “Nick” Ault. Oh, well.

ESPN The Magazine also compared Kaepernick’s game to that of Vince Young. Wrong again. Kaepernick is already better than Young.

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The decision to start Kaepernick on Saturday against Grambling is a no-brainer. Graziano, who missed most of last season and all spring with an injury, isn’t ready to start and, well, when you have Vince Young, you play him. But let’s hope that Graziano receives meaningful minutes against Grambling. If there is a school that understands that you need two quality quarterbacks ready to play at the twist of an ankle or the break of a leg, it’s the Wolf Pack. Ault, who gets more out of his offensive talent than any coach in the country, will figure out a way to use both of them this season.

Fans at Mackay Stadium will be able to report rowdy fans sitting near them this season by way of a text message. This is a great move by the university. It’s about time that Mackay Stadium and the surrounding parking lots, otherwise known as Reno’s Biggest Little Outdoor Saloon , finally becomes more fan friendly for families. That text message number, though, isn’t the one fans really want. What’s Nick Ault’s number down on the sideline, you know, in case he doesn’t know when to put in a new quarterback, call the right play on 3rd-and-7 or call a timeout to stop the clock?

The San Francisco 49ers are likely making a mistake by naming the immortal J.T. O’Sullivan as the starting quarterback. What really has O’Sullivan done to earn the job over Alex Smith? Is O’Sullivan that much of an upgrade? Does O’Sullivan, at the age of 29, really have as much upside as Smith? The 49ers have invested a lot of money on Smith, the 2005 top pick in the draft. Why toss him aside after shoving four offensive coordinators down his throat in four years?

NFL teams, though, have made some bold decisions concerning their quarterbacks this summer. Kyle Orton, who was picked in the fourth round of that infamous 2005 draft, will start for the Bears ahead Rex Grossman. All Grossman did was help his team reach the Super Bowl two years ago. And the Arizona Cardinals feel that a 37-year-old Kurt Warner is the better choice than a young Matt Leinart. Here’s betting that the Bears, 49ers and Cardinals combine to win no more than 20 games this year.

Does anybody really believe that Olympic sprinter Usain Bolt could survive as a NFL wide receiver? He wouldn’t get through the preseason in one piece. Then again, he sure would look good running out of the tunnel during the pre-game introductions. The days of wide receivers just streaking down the sideline and running under passes are over. College football today is about the spread offense, with receivers running all over the field, looking for the right matchup and catching the ball in the middle of the field. Bolt has about as much business playing in the NFL as Michael Phelps has of performing with Shamu and the rest of the killer whales at Sea World.

A youth baseball league in Connecticut this week banned a 9-year-old from pitching because he was too good. It seems the 9-year-old, who throws 40 m.p.h. with excellent control (which makes him Jamie Moyer and Kenny Rogers), turned down a chance to play for the defending league champions, a team sponsored by a company connected to one of the league administrators. Politics in Little League? Say it ain’t so. That never happens, right? All I know is that I’m going to pick the kid in my fantasy baseball league’s prospect draft in March.

Do you think the reason why Michael Strahan turned down the New York Giants’ offer to come out of retirement this week was due to the fact that he now qualifies for the Pro Football Hall of Fame one year before Brett Favre? Just asking. Strahan, though, might just be waiting until Week 9 or 10 to see if the Giants have a shot to get back to the Super Bowl. Last year he missed all of training camp. This year he can miss three-fourths of the regular season. No big deal.

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