Hines has poured it on both sides of ball | NevadaAppeal.com

Hines has poured it on both sides of ball

RENO – Chris Hines freely admits it. He’s the kind of guy that sees the glass half empty instead of half full. He can’t help it, he’s been that way his whole life.

That’s why he found it difficult to assess his own play through the first six weeks of Nevada’s season. Because he expects so much of himself, he’s rarely pleased.

“I’m always pretty hard on myself,” Hines said, preparing for Saturday night’s game against Rice at Mackay Stadium. “I always see the darker side of things.

“When I mess up, I switch personalities. I become quiet and angry, and tend to dwell on things. I know I’m not supposed to do that; to sit there and think about what went wrong. You have to move on and not dwell on things. It seems that all I remember are my mistakes when I think back to the games.”

Mistakes have been there, but so has a lot of solid play. Unofficially, Hines has only been beaten for four sacks all season, and he was spotless in pass protection against UNLV and Hawaii.

“Average I guess,” he said when finally pressed again for an answer. “You’re always striving for perfection. It’s what everybody is trying to do; to be perfect. It’s not a realistic goal, however.”

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Hines is all about effort. He is blue-collar all the way, and he leaves it on the field. You won’t see Hines taking plays off, it’s not his style. He works hard on and off the field in an effort to make himself better and to help the Wolf Pack.

“He’s played hard,” said Chris Klenakis, who mentors the offensive line. “He gives you great effort all the time. He gives you everything he’s got. He’s doing some things a lot better than last year. His first step in the running game is better and his pass setups are better. At times last year he would over-extend and get off balance.”

“He can play better, but he’s competing. He’s been a good run blocker because he takes advantage of his quickness. He’s exceptionally quick off the ball. His biggest assets are his quickness and intelligence.”

Hines is 6-2 on a good day, which means he is giving up two or three inches too many defensive tackles. And, even at 285 pounds, he’s giving up some weight, too.

“I have to use the technique they teach us out here everyday,” Hines said. “The one thing about being shorter is I can get leverage on some of the taller guys.”

The Wolf Pack’s offensive line in general has gotten better since the nine-sack debacle at Louisiana Tech on Labor Day.

“You can definitely say that,” Hines said. “It was embarrassing for everybody. We’ve all come together as a unit, and everybody is competing.”

“They are making a steady improvement,” Klenakis said. “They continue to play hard, and they are doing a better job of run blocking and pass blocking, but they still have a long ways to go.”

That’s grudging praise from Klenakis, who isn’t quick to pass out accolades. He’s a tough guy to please, according to his players, all of whom seem to have a healthy respect for him.

“He’s tough,” Hines said. “There are no excuses. If you do it right, he lets you know about it. If you screw up, he’s going to chew on you. That’s the way it should be.”

(insert bullet) Hines came to Nevada as a defensive tackle out of Beyer High in Modesto, Calif., and played in all 11games, including eight starts. Defense was his love, first, last and always, ever since he had “20-something sacks” his freshman year in high school.

“I worked out the summer after my freshman year, and then took two weeks off (at home),” Hines said. “I got a phone call from my defensive line coach telling me that coach (Chris) Tormey wanted me to get in touch with him. I had a feeling they were going to ask me to do it (switch to offense).

“When I talked to coach Tormey, he told me the team had a better chance of winning if I moved to offense because the depth there wasn’t very good. He told me he wasn’t going to make me do it, but that it was for the benefit of the team. He told me to take some time to think about it. At first I didn’t like it because I was so used to defense. Now, it’s what I do.”

Hines did it so well last year that he was a second-team all-WAC selection.

“I came into the locker room and people were congratulating me,” Hines said. “I never think about stuff like that. I just try to go out and do the job. I thought the guys were screwing with me. I walked into the weight room and (John) Archer, the conditioning coach, congratulated me and said I’d really made it. They finally showed me on the computer.”

(insert bullet) The sun is starting to set on Hines’ career at Nevada. Barring a miracle run, it will end in late November. The four years seem to have flown by, but save for not winning a few more games, it’s been an enjoyable experience.

“It’s been a great time,” said Hines, relaxing in Legacy Hall before a recent practice. “There have been a lot of challenges, but it makes you a stronger man for it. I’ve had a lot of great memories.”

First and foremost are wins over BYU his sophomore season and the huge upset of Washington last year. Those two and the win last year over Hawaii are probably the three biggest wins at Reno.

Make no mistake about it, Hines would love a few more wins to remember during this stretch drive.

Contact Darrell Moody at dmoody@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1281.