Flowers doesn’t bloom for Nevada | NevadaAppeal.com

Flowers doesn’t bloom for Nevada

STEVE RANSON
Appeal News Service

Wide receiver Nichiren Flowers spent the entire first half on the bench of Friday night’s Washington State-Nevada football game.

Flowers finally reported to duty after two minutes had passed in the third quarter. The senior wide receiver had a sub-par game, catching two passes for 20 yards. He didn’t present any serious threat to the Cougars’ secondary.

Coach Chris Ault briefly addressed Flowers’ lack of playing time.

“Nichiren doesn’t have a sense of urgency. He needs to practice harder,” Ault said after the game.

Ault said if Flowers doesn’t come to practice or if he doesn’t practice hard, he won’t play in the next game. But Ault doesn’t want to see that happen to one of his team’s leaders.

“We need Nirchiren,” Ault emphasized, but quickly pointing out that Flowers let the team down.

Quarterback Jeff Rowe is confident Flowers will come back better than ever.

FRIDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL

Friday night football at the collegiate level made its debut in Reno.

And judging by the crowd, Nevada’s associate athletic director is fairly pleased with the announced turnstile attendance of 17,552.

“Based on all appearances, it looks good,” Rory Hickok said. “We had projected between 20,000 and 25,000 (at the game).”

While most of the country has seen an increase in the number of Friday night football games – or football any night of the week for that matter – Nevada hosted Washington State because of the exposure ESPN provides to a national audience.

Hickok said the national exposure will help the Nevada program.

“It’s good to have that opportunity,” Hickok added.

He said if ESPN offered Nevada another Friday game next year, the university would seriously consider it.

ESPN televised two Nevada games last season, and two more televised games are planned for this season. ESPNU will televise next Saturday night’s game against UNLV and ABC plans a regional broadcast of the San Jose State game on Oct. 1

Hickok said the regional broadcasts definitley helps the Wolf Pack.

“It enhances the area in which we predominately recruit,” he said.

The Wolf Pack Sports Network which encompasses radio, television and website video streaming, will broadcast five games on The WB.

INJURED PARATROOPER

A military tradition resulted in a serious injury to a parachutist. Three paratroopers from the Green Beret Parachute Team at Ft. Bragg, N.C., descended into Mackay Stadium before game time. The second parachutist, Chief Warrant Officer 2 Dave Larson of Hurst, Tex., suffered a hip fracture when a gust of wind whipped his parachute and pile drove him to the turf. The parachute dragged Larson almost 15 yards near midfield.

Ironically, Larson, a veteran of more than 2,000 jumps, had safely returned from Iraq.

Nevada athletic trainers and several paramedics immediately raced to Larson who slid hard on his side before coming to a stop. He will spend two days in a Reno hospital.

MILITARY DAY

Not only was Friday the season and home opener for the Wolf Pack, but it was also Military Day. For a reduced ticket price, service members representing all branches of the military including the National Guard and reserves attended the game.

Jamie Klund, director of Media Services, said military night was planned to coincide with the fourth anniversary of the tragic events associated with Sept. 11.

Several military traditions occurred before the opening kick off.

The Nevada Army National Guard buzzed Mackay Stadium with its Blackhawk helicopters.

Four soldiers representing the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, an active duty Army unit headquartered at Ft. Irwin, Calif.,, presented the colors from mounted horse near the south end zones. The main body of the 11tth ACR, however, deployed to Iraq almost 13 months ago.

Three soldiers from the 11th ACR and one soldier from Yerington’s Alpha Troop, 1st of the 221st Cavalry Regiment, presented the colors.

Cpl. Anthony Reed of Hawthorne, was the lone Guardsman who rode into the stadium. Reed, formerly of Reno, moved his family to Hawthorne to be closer to relatives, before he was deployed to Ft. Irwin.

There’s also a Nevada connection to the 11th ACR. The 221st Armored Regiment with its headquarters and three companies in Las Vegas, a tank company in Yerington and two platoons in Fallon replaced the 11th ACR at the National Training Center in mid-August 2004. The 221st acts as the opposing force when training mobilized units.

THE SECOND BATTLE

Friday’s game marked only the second time both teams have battled each other on the gridiron. In 2002, the Cougars handled the Pack 31-7 in the season opener played 300 miles from WSU’s campus.

Both teams faced each other at Qwest Field, at the time the Seattle Seahawks newly completed home that replaced the Kingdome.

Almost 2,500 Cougars fans filled two sections of Mackay Stadium’s southeast stands. Prior to the game, the Cougars Alumni Association held a tailgate party which was attended by at least 500 former students.

Past alumni president Ray Eldridge of Seattle borrowed one of the armed service’s slogans in describing a Cougars’ fan: “Once a cougar, always a cougar.”

Ray’s wife Mary said coming to Reno has been a novelty for many Cougars’ fans.

“I hope I can take some of the money (from gambling) home,” Mary said with a grin.