Friday Fodder: Colin Kaepernick and the San Francisco 49ers offense have lost explosiveness | NevadaAppeal.com
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Friday Fodder: Colin Kaepernick and the San Francisco 49ers offense have lost explosiveness

Sports fodder for a Friday morning . . .

The San Francisco 49ers’ offense seems to have lost its explosiveness. Kaepernick is turning into a game manager right before our eyes. Kaepernick completed less than 60 percent of his passes the last two weeks against Philadelphia and Kansas City. The 49ers won both games but Kaepernick is becoming Alex Smith only with more tattoos and commercial endorsements. Is this all Kaepernick is or can he still get better? Is 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh holding him back, afraid Kaepernick’s right arm is a mistake waiting to happen? There will come a time this season, against Denver and Seattle, for example, when Kaepernick has to become explosive again for the 49ers to win. Let’s hope he remembers how when the time comes.

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It’s time for Cody Fajardo to step up and lead the Nevada Wolf Pack football team to greatness. Fajardo is a talented player, one of the best to ever play quarterback at Nevada. That’s not the issue. The issue is winning football games. Fajardo is just 17-18 as a starter at Nevada. He’s rapidly becoming the Deonte Burton of football, a wonderful player with amazing ability who just can’t seem to win big games and lift his team to another level. But even Burton won one Western Athletic conference title. Fajardo has no conference titles or bowl victories under his belt. He’s never beaten Boise and he’s even lost to UNLV once. This is not about the fact Boise picked off four Fajardo passes last Saturday night. Those things happen. But they are not supposed to happen your senior year at home in a game that will help define your career. But it’s not too late for Fajardo. There are seven regular season games remaining this year. Fajardo can end his career with a flourish, like Colin Kaepernick did in 2010. Kaepernick had an awful game against Hawaii his senior year when he tossed two interceptions and fumbled the ball away twice. And then he never lost again at Nevada. Fajardo has the ability to do the same. His entire career will be judged on these last seven games.

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How about Brian Polian for Mountain West Coach of the Year? We are still early in the Mountain West season but Polian has to be considered a front runner for the award along with Colorado State’s Jim McElwain, Boise’s Bryan Harsin and Air Force’s Troy Calhoun. Polian’s Pack beat Washington State and put a scare into Arizona and Boise State. They went on the road and won at San Jose State without an offense, which is something that rarely happens at Nevada. Polian brings a never-ending energy and passion to the Pack’s sideline that, well, hasn’t been seen at Nevada since Chris Ault’s early days. He also showed a ton of maturity as a head coach after the Boise loss when all he could do was dwell on the fact the Pack didn’t play well. There are no moral victories with Polian, just like there are no moral victories with Ault. There are just wins and losses. Yes, the Pack lost last week to Boise. But we saw a Pack team who was able to play with incredible energy and confidence in a meaningful game. Wolf Pack football is going to be just fine under Polian.

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The Norm Chow experiment in Hawaii continues to be a disaster. There was obviously a reason nobody gave Chow a head coaching job for nearly four decades. Hawaii is 5-24 under his leadership. Before Chow, Hawaii had an identity as a run-and-shoot powerhouse. It was almost impossible for opponents (just ask the Wolf Pack) to go to Hawaii and win. Chow comes along with his 1980s Pro Style offense in 2012, wipes out Hawaii’s identity faster than you can say June Jones and has nearly obliterated the football program. Wolf Pack offensive coordinator Nick Rolovich, a former Hawaii quarterback and coach, would be perfect as Hawaii’s head coach. He’d restore Hawaii’s identity and add to it. He’d certainly win more than five of his first 29 games.

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Don’t be shocked if Rolovich’s name comes up with a few head coaching opportunities after this season. Fajardo, a senior, will be leaving Nevada after the year. Fajardo and Rolovich have been joined at the hip emotionally the last three years. It wouldn’t be surprising if Rolovich determines this off-season is as good as any to leave Nevada. Rolovich, who has never been shy about looking for new opportunities, is ready to be a head coach now. He’s a veteran offensive coordinator with extensive run-and-shoot and pistol experience. He’s no longer just a guy reading some other coach’s playbook. The more success the Pack enjoys over the next three months, the more likely it is Rolovich moves on.

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Has the pistol offense fizzled out? It certainly didn’t revolutionize the NFL. And the Wolf Pack can’t seem to even run the ball all that effectively anymore. We’ll likely always see bits and pieces of the pistol from here on out but Chris Ault’s baby seems to have outgrown its cute and cuddly stage. It’s now a pimply-faced teenager who can do wonderful things one minute and frustrate the heck out of you the next. The pistol, we’re afraid, didn’t take over football. It’s now just one of many options offensive coordinators can go to in a game. Maybe Ault stepped away too soon. Maybe he should have stuck around to help take the pistol to the next level. Or maybe he got out at just the right time.

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It’s time Bruce Bochy gets the credit he deserves as the best manager in baseball. Bochy’s San Francisco Giants have no right to be in the National League Championship Series. The Giants can’t hit. They can’t pitch. They didn’t even play all that well the last four months of the season. They suffered numerous injuries this year and had to go to Fresno to find help in the middle of a pennant race. They had to find a new closer in the middle of the season. But all they do is win when it counts the most. All they’ve ever done under Bochy is win when it counts the most. Clayton Kershaw, the best pitcher of our generation, can’t win in the postseason. He gives up game-changing homers to left-handers, for goodness sake, with the game on the line. The Giants can’t lose. If Bochy’s Giants win their third World Series title in the last five years, we need to put Bochy into the Hall of Fame immediately.