RENO - For the past two years, Nevada's Tony Moll has been laboring in relative obscurity at tight end.
Eleven catches in two seasons isn't exactly being in the middle of the action. He's been a blocker more than anything else although he has two TD catches in each of the last two seasons.
Moll, a junior, is a new man this spring. Not only has he bulked up to 275 pounds, but he's been moved to offensive tackle, and will replace all-WAC performer Harvey Dahl.
"It's fun," said the former Sonoma High performer. "It was probably the plan when I came in. I have big shoes to fill. I was OK with moving over."
"He's had a nice spring," said Chris Klenakis, Nevada's offensive coordinator and line coach. "He's doing a good job with his run blocking. He has put on size and strength."
Moll ate healthy to keep his weight at 255. Now, he can pretty much eat whatever he wants, and admits he's hit some of the buffets at the casinos on Virginia Street. No doubt those places lose money when Moll and his teammates come calling.
The extra weight will help him match up favorably against defensive ends, who will weigh as much as he does.
Moll admitted that he was asked about moving over after his freshman year by former coach Chris Tormey and again last year by Chris Ault, but didn't want to do it at the time.
"I enjoyed catching the ball (too much) and scoring touchdowns and stuff," he said. "I thought I'd miss it a a lot (catching the ball). I concentrate so much now that I don't even know what wide receivers and tight ends are in the game."
It was the lack of action at tight end that convinced Moll moving inside was the best for him and the team. He shared the tight end spot with Anthony Pudewell and former high school rival Adam Bishop.
"There are lots of plays for the tight end to get the ball, but it seems like it doesn't happen," said Moll, who truly hasn't been bitter. "That's one of the reasons why I made the decision. Last year I got six balls and two were for touchdowns. Days would go by during practice where tight ends didn't see the ball.
"We have a lot of depth at tight end; good players. It wouldn't be fair for only one of us to play, and you want to play the whole game."
Now, he'll be expected to carry a bigger load, and play nearly every offensive snap. It's been an easy transition, one that started late last year when Dahl injured an ankle and Moll was asked to work at tackle some. He actually played one series in a game last year.
"We had a lot of injuries the last five weeks of the season," Klenakis said. "He practiced at tackle some for depth reasons."
Klenakis said Moll needs to continue working hard on his pass protection. Besides learning to play with extra weight, getting the footwork needed in pass protection.
"Over time, I will see things a lot quicker," Moll said. "I know the proper footwork. I'm getting there.
"For me, it's been pretty easy to pick things up. It's easier than tight end. When we played tight end, I had to know all the blocking schemes and all the pass routes."
NOTES - Talib Wise, who played running back and wide receiver for Nevada over the last two years, ran a 4.43 and had a 37-inch vertical leap in a workout for NFL scouts Tuesday afternoon at Mercy Stadium. Dahl also participated in the workout ... Nick Shine, former Carson High standout, made two nice stops in scrimmage-type situations yesterday. Shine is hoping to move up and make the travel squad this year... The annual Silver-Blue scrimmage is set for 3 p.m. on Friday at Mackay Stadium, and it will be open to the public.
Darrell Moody can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling (775) 881-1281