BY CHARLES WHISNAND
Appeal Sports Writer
Ryan Gilmore hadn't played a down all year. But there was no way that Gilmore was going to miss the Carroll College football team's run to another national title.
The NAIA school won its fifth national title in six years last December when the Saints beat Sioux City of Iowa 17-9 in the championship game in Tennessee. While Gilmore didn't receive a chance to suit up and be on the sidelines for that game, he made sure he was there.
"I bought my own ticket and flew down there," Gilmore said. And Gilmore was able to come down to the field and celebrate with his teammates after the game.
Gilmore said he was glad to just be part of that kind of success after not being so successful at Yerington High.
"It was fun to be on the winning side of things," Gilmore said. "Playing at Yerington we didn't win a whole lot of anything."
But don't get Gilmore wrong. He's extremely proud to be representing Yerington and he's obviously looking for his share of playing time this year. He definitely wants to be part of another championship team, but this time on the field.
Gilmore, a 6-5, 270-pound offensive tackle, is a redshirt sophomore. He began his career as a freshman on the defensive line. He moved last year to the offensive line and contributed to the championship effort through his work on the scout team. "Last year was a learning year," Gilmore said.
In practice so far, Gilmore has seen action at both right and left tackle. Gilmore said he hopes to crack the starting lineup this season. He said his biggest concern is to keep improving his footwork.
"I'm not really set anywhere," said Gilmore about the possibility of playing left or right tackle. "We're still getting going on the field and trying to see what combinations work."
Right now with school yet to begin, Carroll is going from 7 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. every day. It won't be any easier when school starts for Gilmore, who's a civil engineering major, but he said he takes it all in stride.
"It's not that bad," said Gilmore about balancing his studies and football. Carroll will open its season at 6 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 30 at Azusa Pacific in Southern California.
University of Nevada senior linebacker Joshua Mauga of Fallon has been named to the initial Watch List for the Butkus Award, which is given annually to the nation's top collegiate linebacker.
"It's an honor," Mauga said. "A linebacker like he was back in the day. Just to be mentioned is a great compliment."
Mauga is a fourth-year starter who is considered a candidate for Western Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year this season. He has been named Preseason All-WAC by Blue Ribbon College Football Yearbook, Phil Steele's College Football, Athlon, Lindy's and The Sporting News.
Mauga was en route to a stellar season in 2007 before a knee injury forced him to miss more than five games. Still, he was second on the team with 80 tackles. For his career, he has 170 tackles, including 12.5 for a loss.
Mauga is one of four players from the WAC on the Watch List, joining Hawaii's Adam Leonard and Utah State's Jake Hutton and Paul Igboeli. There are 66 players on the Watch List.
In 2007, the Butkus Award was given to Ohio State's James Laurinaitis, who is on the Watch List again this year.
An independent Butkus Award Selection Committee, headed by Pro Football Weekly's Hub Arkush and comprised of 51 experts including professional, college and high school scouts, and prominent sports journalists, will conduct the selection process.
For more information and the complete Watch List go to www.thebutkusaward.com.