Friday Fodder: Ault has tough job to find new coordinator
December 28, 2012
Sports fodder for a Friday morning … We are going to find out in the coming weeks how critical Chris Ault’s sense of urgency is concerning his Nevada Wolf Pack football team’s defense. With defensive line coach Barry Sacks leaving for the California Golden Bears last week, Ault now has a precious opening on his defensive staff. Will Ault simply replace Sacks by hiring a defensive line coach or will he hire a defensive coordinator and limit current coordinator Mike Bradeson’s duties to the secondary? If Ault wants to correct the defense’s problems before he retires in 3-5 years, he must hire a young, bold, dynamic coordinator who will inject the defense with energy, passion and creativity. And it would be nice if that new coordinator was on staff no later than the end of next week so he could help in recruiting.
Former McQueen High player Kyle Van Noy had an outstanding Poinsettia Bowl for BYU last week. Van Noy returned an interception for a touchdown, sacked San Diego state quarterback Adam Dingwell 1.5 times, forced Dingwell to fumble and recovered the ball in the end zone for another touchdown. The 6-foot 3-inch Van Noy also had eight tackles and was named the Defensive Most Valuable Player in BYU’s 23-6 win over the Aztecs. In short, Van Noy had more great defensive plays in one game than the Pack defense had all year combined. If Van Noy would have traveled just a few short miles down McCarran Boulevard instead of to Provo, Utah, for his college choice, the Pack would have been 10-3 this year and not 7-6.
The San Francisco 49ers shouldn’t worry all that much about their blowout loss at Seattle last week. The 49ers were coming off a grueling victory over the New England Patriots just the week before and then had to travel across the country to Seattle to play a team that simply doesn’t lose at home. The victory over the 49ers, impressive as it was, will be the Seahawks’ highlight of the season. Colin Kaepernick and the 49ers will destroy the Arizona Cardinals this week, win the division and will end up in the Super Bowl. The Seahawks will win one playoff game at best.
There is, however, some reason for concern in San Francisco. Opposing defenses seem to be figuring out Kaepernick a little more each week (he’s just 33-of-61 the last two weeks combined through the air) and injuries are piling up on both sides of the ball. The 49ers defense has been awful the last two weeks and, well, not even Kaepernick can fix that. Coach Jim Harbaugh, though, can’t go back to the conservative Alex Smith at quarterback. Smith, who still has a better passing rating than Kaepernick, hasn’t played in almost two months. It’s Kaepernick or bust now in San Francisco. But it would be a good idea to give Smith two dozen or so snaps in the blowout win over the Cardinals this weekend in case he’s needed in the playoffs.
The three or four-guard lineup coach David Carter is now using – it’s really two guards and two forwards – is all well and good. But the key to this entire Wolf Pack basketball season is the man in the middle. Kevin Panzer and Devonte Elliott have to play well in the paint if the Pack is going to finish over .500 in the Mountain West this year. Panzer and Elliott have to rebound, play defense and, yes, even score a little inside to keep teams honest. Shooting threes and running non-athletic teams like Cal State San Marcos,- Southern Utah, San Francisco and Cal Poly out of the gym is one thing. Doing that to the likes of San Diego State, UNLV and New Mexico is, well, quite another thing.
Expecting Adrian Peterson to rush for 208 yards against the Green Bay Packers this weekend, so he could break Eric Dickerson’s NFL rushing record of 2,105 yards, is sort of like expecting someone to pitch a no-hitter on demand. But don’t bet against it happening. What else are the Minnesota Vikings going to do? Let Christian Ponder throw the ball 50 times? Green Bay has a horrible defense. Peterson got 210 against them earlier this month. And that was at Lambeau Field. The Packers can’t simply intentionally walk Peterson four times this weekend. He might get 250 yards.
Maybe the NHL finally has the right idea. Eliminate its meaningless regular season and go right into the Stanley Cup playoffs. It’s the perfect hockey season. Let every team take part and put every game on national television. College basketball should do the same. Cut out the boring regular season with all of the garbage games against Cal State This and That, Yale, Drake, Green Bay and Southern Utah and go right into the NCAA tournament. Let every school in the nation into the party. Make it a six-week tournament.
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