Admit it Polian, Fralick is starting quarterback | NevadaAppeal.com

Admit it Polian, Fralick is starting quarterback

Sports fodder for a Friday morning . . .

The Nevada Wolf Pack has found its next starting quarterback whether coach Brian Polian admits it or not. It would be surprising if Hunter Fralick doesn’t start the majority of games this season at quarterback for the Wolf Pack. The Spanish Springs graduate was clearly the most impressive quarterback this spring. The other two more experienced contestants in this spring’s Wolf Pack Idol quarterback competition (Tyler Stewart and Dante Mayes) didn’t wow anybody. Fralick, the redshirt freshman, didn’t seem afraid of the moment at all. All things (talent, knowledge of the system, leadership) being equal, Fralick should get the job just because he has the most years of eligibility remaining and the highest upside. But all things are not equal. Fralick seems to already have an edge. Polian, of course, was never going to name the red-shirt freshman the starter in April. That would be like giving the keys to a new Lamborghini to your 16-year-old the minute after he got his license. Polian just wants to make sure Fralick earns the job and pays his dues. Fralick is clearly doing that. Red-shirt freshmen can’t win a starting job five months before the start of their first season. But they can lose it. Fralick lost absolutely nothing.

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Naming a starting quarterback isn’t really Polian’s decision. That decision belongs to offensive coordinator/ quarterback guru Nick Rolovich. Do you really believe Polian will go against Rolovich’s wishes when it comes to the quarterback position? That would be like Rolovich picking Polian’s cliches for the postgame press conferences. If Polian goes against Rolovich’s choice of starting quarterback Nevada is looking for a new offensive coordinator. That’s another reason why Fralick will likely be the winner. Rolovich, don’t forget, is the reason why the Pack offered Fralick a scholarship in the first place. The Pack offered Fralick a scholarship just two weeks after Polian was named head coach in January 2013. At that time Polian didn’t know Hunter Fralick from Hunter Pence. Rolovich came back to the Pack from Temple after Polian was hired and the first thing he did was convince Polian to offer Fralick a scholarship. If Fralick proves ready to start, he’s going to start.

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Don’t be surprised, though, if the Pack keep the quarterback competition open through the first three weeks of the season. If that happens it doesn’t mean the Pack don’t know who’s the best quarterback on the roster. It just might mean they are protecting Fralick. The Pack could beat UC Davis with a 68-year-old Chris Ault at quarterback in the season opener. Then comes two tough games against Arizona and Texas A&M. The season then gets awfully easier starting in Week 4. That would be the perfect time to toss a freshman quarterback into the fire full-time.

That’s what Ault did in 2011 when he waited until the schedule lightened up in Week 5 to give red-shirt freshman Cody Fajardo the job.

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This is also the perfect season for the Wolf Pack to break out a new quarterback. First of all, the schedule is the easiest the Pack has faced in years, since Ault’s Division I-AA years. The Pack really shouldn’t lose more than four games no matter who plays quarterback. And, second of all, the Mountain West is void of any great quarterbacks right now. Colorado State, Boise State, Wyoming, San Diego State, Air Force, Fresno State and the Pack will all have new starting quarterbacks this year. The three most experienced returning quarterbacks in the conference are UNLV’s Blake Decker, San Jose State’s Joe Gray and Hawaii’s Ikaika Woolsey. And those three teams combined won’t likely reach double figures in wins.

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The issue of starting quarterback really isn’t the toughest one facing the Pack this summer. Finding a quarterback in college football isn’t all that difficult anymore. Quarterbacks and receivers just play pitch and catch with each other now. All you really have to do is find a guy who won’t throw it to the other team. The biggest issue with the Pack this summer will be finding five offensive lineman who will keep the quarterback in one piece all season. Don’t forget Fajardo masked an awful offensive line the last two years. And we don’t know right now whether or not the offensive line is going to be any better this year.

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It might not be long before we get to see former Wolf Pack pitcher Braden Shipley at Aces Ballpark. Shipley, a first-round draft pick by the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2013, is 2-0 with a 0.96 earned run average after four starts at Double-A Mobile. He’s allowed just 13 hits in 18.2 innings while striking out 16. We might see the 23-year-old pitching for the Reno Aces sometime in June.

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Unless Hunter Pence can play third base and make two or three starts a week on the mound, his return isn’t going to help the San Francisco Giants all that much. The Giants, losers of 13-of-22 games this year, look like they might go from World Series champions to last place in the National League West in one year. Casey McGehee is not an adequate replacement for Pablo Sandoval at third base and, well, Madison Bumgarner can’t pitch every other day. Brandon Crawford is the Giants’ best power hitter right now. A team cannot live on singles by Angel Pagan, Joe Panik and Nori Aoki alone. Just remember two things, Giants fans. Three World Series in five years and the Los Angeles Dodgers haven’t won a World Series since 1988. Feel better?

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Don’t count the Cleveland Cavaliers out of making an appearance in the NBA Finals just yet. Yes, Kevin Love is out for the rest of the playoffs but LeBron James and Kyrie Irving still should be enough to get the Cavs to the Finals. The East is just that bad. The Chicago Bulls have been wildly inconsistent and the Atlanta Hawks and Washington Wizards, well, are the Atlanta Hawks and Washington Wizards. The NBA, never forget, will also desperately need LeBron in the Finals or nobody will watch. The NBA, above all else, is nothing more than a television reality show. It’s the Kardashians without Bruce Jenner. The NBA has always known how to get TV ratings.