Wolf Pack football brings new energy in scrimmage at Carson High

Smalley enjoys nostalgic return

The Nevada football team listens to instructions during Saturday's open scrimmage at Carson High School.

The Nevada football team listens to instructions during Saturday's open scrimmage at Carson High School.
Photo by Jeff Mulvihill, Jr. | InstaImage.

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The University of Nevada, Reno football program and first-year head coach Jeff Choate felt it was important for the Wolf Pack to get out and do some community outreach.

Saturday morning’s open scrimmage served as a ‘small way’ for Choate and company to show their support to the surrounding communities.

Choate, who was named Nevada’s head coach in December after spending the last three seasons as Texas’ co-defensive coordinator, hasn’t taken long to demonstrate a new energy within the spring environment. 

“We ask everyone to come to Reno to support us on Saturday’s in the fall. In a small way, for us to be able to get out into the greater Nevada community, interact with people, … just to reach out and bring our brand here,” said Wolf Pack head coach Jeff Choate. “Instead of always asking them to support us. It’s a small way we can show our support for Carson City and hopefully in the future we will be able to move this thing around.”

The coaching staff thought a fresh scene and a scrimmage environment helped build a more game-like atmosphere.

“Putting our kids in a competitive environment where there are fans in the stands, that’s an important part too,” said Choate. “… It’s time to make Reno a football town again.”

(First-year Nevada football coach Jeff Choate raises his arms during the Wolf Pack’s open scrimmage at Carson High School Saturday morning. Choate said after the scrimmage he hopes to continue to get more community outreach as he goes on. / Jeff Mulvihill, Jr. | InstaImage)

The energy boost was obvious for Douglas High School alum Chris Smalley, who spent the last two seasons playing under Ken Wilson after being recruited to Nevada by Jay Norvell, who is now the head coach at Colorado State.

Being led by a new coach wasn’t the only unique part of Saturday’s scrimmage at Carson High.

As a Douglas graduate, wearing shades of blue on Carson’s field was a bit strange, even a few years removed from The Rivalry.

“It is, yeah. It hurt me a little bit, but it’s Wolf Pack blue so it’s fine with me,” Smalley said. “I have a lot of memories on this field. … It was a little nostalgic. I remember walking out for the high school games so that was awesome.”

Along with the energy, Smalley said team chemistry is up early this spring.

“Our chemistry as a team has gone way up,” said Smalley. “Just more energy and a lot more competitiveness.”

The Senators’ turf field received high praise from Wolf Pack head coach, as well.

“I appreciate Carson allowing us to come out. The facility is fantastic. Those Sierra’s look pretty nice today,” said Choate.

Smalley, who is listed as a linebacker, maintained the importance of the Pack getting out into the community.

“Oh, it’s so important. There’s fans in Douglas, here, in Elko, (etc.). It’s super important,” Smalley said.

Who knows, maybe it opens the door for the Tiger graduate to have one more practice on Keith Roman Field.

“That would be awesome. That would be a dream come true,” said Smalley.

Editor's note: More photos from Saturday's scrimmage will be featured in Wednesday's edition of the Nevada Appeal.

(Douglas High School alum and Wolf Pack junior Chris Smalley signs autographs for a few Wolf Pack fans, following Nevada’s open scrimmage at Carson High School Saturday morning. / Jeff Mulvihill, Jr. | InstaImage)


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