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Nevada strong on both sides of ball

DARRELL MOODY

RENO – Nevada concluded its spring practice Saturday with its annual Silver-Blue scrimmage, and there were good performances on both sides of the ball.

The offense scored five rushing touchdowns, three by running back Chance Kretschmer on runs of 30, 6 and 2 yards, and the defense forced five fumbles and intercepted a pass in the 105-play scrimmage in front of an estimated crowd of 300 at Mackay Stadium.

“There was some good hitting,” head coach Chris Ault said. “We got a good luck at everybody, and we’ll have good film to evaluate. We saw (good) signs on both sides of the ball. We saw some different mixes.”

On the offensive side of the ball, Ault was pleased with his quarterbacks. All five – Jeff Rowe, Andy Heiser, Travis Moore, Ryan Sollod and Shawn St. Jacques – played at least two series.

The group completed 31 of 46 attempts for 371 yards. Unofficially, Rowe was 9 for 16 for 122 yards, Heiser was 10 for 14 for 74 yards, Moore was 7 for 9 for 88 yards, Sollod was 1 for 3 for 19 yards and St. Jacques was 4 for 4 for 68 yards. Alex Rosenblum led the receivers with nine grabs for 128 yards, foillowed by Nichiren Flowers with nine catches for 108 yards and Caleb Spencer eight catches for 97 yards.

“I thought all the quarterbacks did well and made their checks,” Ault said. “Caleb Spencer has lots of potential and had a solid spring. He’s as good a receiver as we’ve had here, and he runs well with the ball after the catch. He’s still learning the offense.

“I thought Harvey Dahl finally stepped up in the offensive line, and Chris Hines is a leader with a good attitude there as well. We just need to get some depth there.”

The Wolf Pack played without its second and third running backs, redshirt freshmen Jarred Belsar and Drew Robinson, who are both injured. Ault said their injuries weren’t serious, and that he’s seen enough to know they will fit in nicely with the new offense.

On defense, co-defensive coordinator Barry Sacks was pleased with the performance of his defenders.

“I love to see the ball on the ground, but we need to recover more of them,” said Sacks, whose unit recovered two of the five fumbles.

Linebackers Jamaal Jackson, a converted running back, and Nick Hawthrone, defensive ends Erics Clark and Brenton Kendrick and defensive lineman Craig Bailey, J.J. Milan and Chris Barry also played well. Clark and Kendrick did a great job of rushing the passer from their outside spots.

“I thought we played well today,” linebacker coach Ken Wilson said. “We were aggressive and stopped the run pretty well. They ran a lot of bootleg, which slowed us down.

“Hawthrone has been playing good, and he’s been all over the field. He has a chance to be really good. Jamaal is one of my better guys (linebackers). He’s doing a real good job. Milan is as good as anybody in the league.”

Jackson, who had the defensive unit’s only interception, likes being on the defensive side of the ball.

“We have a new system, but we picked it up pretty easy,” Jackson said. “This is where my instincts are.”

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