Nevada stars ready for draft

Anybody who is a true fan of the NFL will be glued to the television set starting this morning when the annual college draft takes place.

The first day, which encompasses three rounds, is full of highlights of various players performing, and the talking heads from ESPN extolling the virtues of each player at length. It's great television.

The second day is a little quicker because teams get less time to make picks, and that means less talking by the experts.

Three University of Nevada football players - quarterback Jeff Rowe, defensive end J.J. Milan and cornerback Joe Garcia will be anxiously waiting to see if their name is called at some point this weekend.

From what I understand, Rowe had a solid showing at the NFL combine, throwing the ball with good velocity.

Everything I heard from scouts last year indicated the 6-foot-5 Rowe would go anywhere from the fourth through the sixth round. He has the size that scouts like and he showed the last two years that he can escape trouble and scramble. Mobility is the name of the game in the NFL. If you have it, you can make life miserable for opposing defensive coordinators. It gives them something else to game plan for.

Milan, whose career was marred by a foot injury, enjoyed a solid senior season. At 6-6 and 265-270, Milan will be looked at as a defensive end or defensive tackle, though he prefers to play outside.

Milan's abilities as a long snapper also could generate some interest from NFL teams. There are plenty of players who have lasted for years being a long snapper and doing little else.

Garcia, who watched his former team scrimmage last weekend, said he's heard from three or four teams. I wouldn't expect Garcia to go until the second day of the draft.

Garcia said he had fun playing in the Hula Bowl, and he certainly opened some eyes with two interceptions. Garcia has decent speed (he's under 4.5), and he's a sure tackler.

The one nice thing is that with the salary cap in place, teams need cheap help. Teams have to keep a certain amount of rookies or free agents, because they will cost a team less money, and make no mistake about it, the NFL is all about the money.

If none of the aforementioned trio is drafted, you can bet they will be in somebody's training camp this summer.

• As you may or may not have heard, starting Aug. 1 text messages to recruits have been banned by the NCAA.

I think that's a positive thing. There is no way to restrict text messages without going to a full-time ban. You know that coaches are texting kids during class, and that is so wrong. Coaches will now be forced to write some more letters and e-mail kids. It may take more time, but nobody ever said recruiting was easy.

Also, based on numerous interviews in the past four years, student-athletes could use some work on their verbal communication skills. Kids nowadays find it easier to type than speak, and that's wrong. When they get into the business world, they are going to find out just how important good verbal communication skills are.

The NCAA Management Council left an opening that the rule could be revised as early as 2008. I hope the ban stays.

• Nevada basketball coach Mark Fox, who is one of the best young coaches in the country, received a reprimand from the Western Athletic Conference for his actions during a regular-season game at Utah State where he accidentally bumped an official and for verbally abusing game officials after the Pack's semifinal loss to Utah State at the WAC Tournament.

I honestly thought Fox would get a one-game suspension, if for no other reason than the two incidents took place in a span of eight or nine days.

In fact, I thought New Mexico State's Reggie Theus would get a one-game suspension for going onto the floor after his player, Tyrone Nelson, was hammered by Coby Karl during the WAC Tournament. During the post-game press conference, Karl thought Theus was coming after him when he saw the coach run onto the floor.

Theus' name has been mentioned as a candidate for the vacant Sacramento Kings head job. Certainly that would be a great move up, and based on his brilliant NBA career, he would get instant credibiity.

As a member of the media, I liked Theus in the sense that he had charisma, and you didn't have to drag answers out of him like you do with some coaches. He was at ease with the media, and cooperative.


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