Fragger, Sammons come back to help Pack
Appeal Sports Writer
RENO – Nevada lost some of its offensive firepower when quarterback Jeff Rowe, wide receiver Caleb Spencer and running back Robert Hubbard used up their eligibility last fall.
The good news is that senior wide receiver Kyle Sammons and sophomore running back Brandon Fragger are back in the fold after suffering season-ending injuries in 2006.
Sammons. a JC transfer, broke his collarbone two weeks before the 2006 opening game at Fresno State and never returned. He did get to play spring ball and pronounced himself 100 percent healthy.
“I just fell on it awkwardly,” said Sammons, who contributed 27 catches for 385 yards two years ago. “It’s the first time since I started playing football that I was seriously hurt. I hated it. I came out to practice and watched. I hated it, just watching everybody run around out there.”
Sammons returns to a deep receiving crew. Arthur King, Jack Darlington, Marko Mitchell, Mike McCoy, Chris Wellington, Andy McIntosh and Brian Fludd are all pushing each other for playing time. Head coach Chris Ault likes to use five or six receivers per game.
“It’s the deepest since I’ve been here,” Sammons said. “The competition is going to make me better. I’m looking forward to it. You can’t take a play off or have a bad practice. You have to go out there and produce.
“I had a year off and all I did is work out (rehab). I’m expecting big things from myself. I can’t wait to get out there and run and run.”
Neither can the Wolf Pack coaching staff. It would like nothing better than for Sammons to show the ability that allowed him to catch seven passes for 103 yards and a score against Colorado State and had six catches for 68 yards against Louisiana Tech.
Ault has said several times that Sammons has the ability to stretch defenses with his speed, and the veteran head coach has repeatedly said he wants to improve the Pack’s vertical passing game this season.
Meanwhile, Fragger says he is pretty much 100 percent after his shoulder injury. He’ll find out more when the Pack goes to full pads and full contact.
It was a spring and summer of re-habbing for Fragger, who opened everybody’s eyes with a 19-carry 146-yard effort in a 31-3 win over arch-rival UNLV last season.
“I got the cast off eight weeks after the surgery,” Fragger said. “After that it was rehab, rehab and more rehab. I lifted weights and ran in the pool.
“I worked so hard in the off-season. I have to work hard all over again just to get back where I was before.”
Fragger said he hadn’t been hit yet (on his injured shoulder), but didn’t seem to be too worried about it.
Fragger also comes back into a depth chart that is crowded with young talent. He’s among four or five backs vying for time behind starter Luke Lippincott. The other running backs are Dwayne Sanders, Mike Kanellis, Courtney Randall and Vai Taua.
Fragger said he’s not concerned whether he starts or not. He knows it’s not a one-back getting all the carries type of situation, and that Ault will use two or three backs during the game.
“The whole starting thing isn’t a concern,” Fragger said. “We all want to be that. It’s a team game. If I had to play a whole game I could. It’s about doing what needs to be done for the team.
“I’m where I expected to be (physically). I’m a little bit faster.”
Notes: Joe Easter, a true freshman, failed his physical and has left the program. He is the second Wolf Pack player to leave the program. Tight end Brent Keaster left the program to be with his ailing father in the Visalia, Calif., area.