Locals paying dues at Nevada | NevadaAppeal.com

Locals paying dues at Nevada

RENO – For the first time in their young lives, Luke Rippee, Andy McIntosh and Nick Shine will be watching football from the sidelines.

It’s not an experience any of them like, but it’s one they understand as they make the transition from high school to college football at the University of Nevada. All three all-Sierra League players were invited walk-ons, and unless injuries occur, the trio will redshirt this year.

“It’s tough,” admitted Rippee, a free safety, who was the Northern Nevada 4A Player of the Year last season in leading Douglas to the Sierra League championship and an 11-1 record. “It’s a whole different ballgame.

“I’m just working real harder at getting better. I’m working my way up from the bottom. It’s fun to be part of a team again.”

Rippee is one of several free safeties behind veteran Keone Kauo. Because of his size and instincts (5-10, 180), it’s probably the best place for him.

“I don’t know what will happen in the future,” he said. “I’m willing to get in there and play anywhere, though.

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“You don’t realize (until you’re here) how good the other guys really are. They are some of the best football players around, and it’s fun to compete against guys like that.”

And, make no mistake about it, Rippee already believes he is capable of competing with some of the scholarship players. He’s not cocky, just confident in his physical and mental abilities.

“It will take a year or two,” he said. “That’s why you redshirt. I hope to make the road team (travel squad) next year and contribute in some way.”

Rippee has seen limited action at safety in the two scrimmages, but several Wolf Pack coaches have commented on his work ethic and especially his knowledge of the game.

“You can tell he’s a coach’s son,” said Barry Sacks, Nevada’s co-defensive coordinator.

Shine, meanwhile, is among a group of young inside linebackers, including redshirt freshmen Nick Fuhr and Jeremy Engstrom.

Shine, who starred at Carson for three seasons, said he’s been surprised at the time it takes to play college football.

“It’s everyday, 24 hours a day,” he said. “It’s a lot different than high school where it’s a couple of hours after school. This is all day between lifting weights, meetings and practice.

“Yeah, it will be tough to put in all that work during the week and then not get to play in the games, which is the best part. Everybody has to put in their dues.”

Ken Wilson, the Pack’s linebacker coach, likes what he’s seen of Shine.

“He’s a tough guy; a hard-nosed guy,” Wilson said. “He’ll get better I think. I think he has a chance to play somewhere down the road. He’s not intimidated by anything. I think he’ll be all right.”

McIntosh is in with a talented group of wide receivers, including Trevor Brackett, Caleb Spencer, Talib Wise, Alex Rosenblum and Nichiren Flowers.

“It’s hard sitting and watching a lot, but I expected it,” McIntosh admitted. “You watch and learn.

“Caleb (Spencer), (Matt) Strong and (Alex) Rosenblum and the other guys have been really nice and helpful.”

McIntosh, who was Rippee’s favorite target at Douglas, said he’s starting to get a feel for things after the initial nervousness wore off.

“I’m starting to learn the offense more and more each day,” he said. “It (the offense) is not too difficult. It’s a lot different from what we did at Douglas. Some of the routes are the same, but have different names.”

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