Locals make progress at Nevada
Appeal Sports Writer
Practicing and not playing was a new experience for Douglas High grads Luke Rippee and Andy McIntosh, and Carson grad Nick Shine.
They hope that through their hard work last spring and a successful fall camp which started last week that they will finally get to perform for the Nevada Wolf Pack.
Of the three, only McIntosh is currently listed on the Pack’s three-deep chart, and that’s mainly because Nevada employs a three-receiver offensive set.
“The first year was a learning experience,” said Rippee, a two-time Northern Nevada Player of the Year. “It (redshirting) was a good chance to get accustomed to playing and the way things are done around here.
“Hopefully I’ll see the field this year. I’ve been working really hard over the summer. I’m really excited.”
Rippee is still listed as a cornerback, and assistant coach Ken Wilson said that Rippee could possibly work into the Pack’s nickel (five defensive backs) and dime (six defensive backs) packages.
“I’m working hard for that spot,” Rippee said, “but I’m definitely hoping to play some on special teams this year. Hopefully down the road I’ll get more valuable playing time.”
One thing Rippee has learned at Nevada is that college football is a business, and it’s an all-year round endeavor.
“There are a lot of great athletes at this level,” the 5-10 180-pound Rippee said. “Everybody here was the best on their high school team. There are a lot of physical specimens, guys that have great size and speed.
“I have a big heart and can play the game. That kind of stuff can’t be measured.”
Shine, an every down player at Carson at tight end and linebacker, said he never gave any thought to not coming back this year.
“This is the payoff year,” Shine said. “This year and next year are key.”
Shine’s spring was slowed by a sprained ankle which he suffered when he slipped on a patch of ice at his apartment.
“I didn’t miss a practice,” he said. “I went the whole way through.”
He later suffered a slight back injury doing squats in the weightroom.
Wilson said Shine has been asked to do two things – put some more weight on his 6-2, 215-pound frame and get faster.
“I’m eating as much as I can,” Shine said. “During the summer I didn’t have a good meal plan. I’m taking in a lot of calories and trying to put that weight on. Once school starts, it will be better. I can put on a few more pounds before we get started.”
Like Rippee, Shine probably has more of a chance to play on special teams than on the line of scrimmage this season.
“I know I’ll play special teams.” Shine said matter-of-factly. “I’m hoping I can get in a game or two. Hopefully I can get a little experience under my belt (this year).
“I’d like to be part of the rotation. I’ll take opportunities as they come whether somebody goes down or somebody isn’t playing well. I want to be ready when any opportunity comes up.”
McIntosh, a sure-handed receiver, said the spring and summer workouts paid huge dividends.
“I’m a lot more familiar with the offense,” he said. “I have a lot more confidence with the plays. During the summer, you can take it more at your own pace. Last spring was the first time I really studied and learned the playbook.”
Working with the scout team last year, McIntosh didn’t really have to learn any plays because he spent his entire year running the plays for whatever team Nevada was going to play that week.
McIntosh set a record for the squat among receivers with a 525-pound effort. He said all his lifts have improved, and his 40 time is a reasonable 4.5.
McIntosh’s improved strength will come in handy at the slot position where receivers are asked to make difficult catches in traffic and block linebackers and safeties. He’s mixing it up with Mike McCoy and Kyle Sammons for the starting spot.
McIntosh needs to make plays and plenty of them if he intends to travel with the team and get on the playing field this year.
Darrell Moody can be reached at email@example.com, or by calling (775) 881-1214