Nicholls State looking to give Nevada an option
Nicholls State looking give Nevada an option
BY DARRELL MOODY
Appeal Sports Writer
Nevada’s defensive unit spent Monday prepping to face a different offense for the third straight week.
Nicholls State, Nevada’s opponent for its home opener Saturday night (6:05 p.m.), at Mackay Stadium runs the option. The Pack hasn’t seen a true option team since beating Rice 35-10 back on Oct. 16, 2004.
“We’ve seen a power (Nebraska) and a spread offense (Northwestern),” Nevada coach Chris Ault said. “The option offense is a whole new thing, a completely different offense.”
Three players are assigned to stop the dive (fullback), keep (quarterback) and pitch (running back), according to Ault. The Nevada coach said it takes a high level of discipline. What makes it even tougher is that Nevada will have just four days to get ready for it.
Nicholls State, 2-0, beat Rice 16-14, and followed up with a 31-14 over Southern Arkansas. NSU is ranked 18th in the most recent Division 1-AA poll. Nicholls State will come at Nevada with several backs, including Cal Jones (four carries, 39 yards), Isa Hines (5-37), Broderick Cole (29-127) and Joseph Tobias (11-51).
“The best defense is a good offense,” Ault said. “We need to keep our defense off the field and force them to play catch-up.”
PISTOL CATCHES ON
Nevada’s pistol offense, which Ault installed three springs ago, is catching on around the country.
LSU, coached by Gary Crowton, scored a big touchdown run from the pistol formation, and apparently Syracuse, where ex-Nevada assistant Phil Earley is on staff, also is using the offense in some form.
“We (Crowton and Ault) goes back to his Louisiana Tech days,” Ault said. “Phil Earley is the quarterback coach at Syracuse, and he’s good friends of one of our assistants. A lot of teams are using phases of it.
“I remember when I told the coaches (about the pistol). They thought I should be committed. We had no film on it. That spring I saw potential. You’re running downhill (in the pistol offense) with the back and quarterback.”
WARRIORS UNHAPPY ABOUT PENALTY
Hawai’i was penalized 15 yards to start Saturday’s game against Louisiana Tech because they did the Haka, a Maori war chant. It’s something that the Warriors started doing last season.
Hawai’i coach June Jones said he didn’t think it was fair because his team did it near the locker room, which is somewhere between 50 and 75 yards from the field. Jones also said that it was understood that as long as the team wasn’t on the field, they could do their pre-game ritual.
“It’s special to Hawai’i and special to our fans,” Jones said. “We’re trying to comply with it (the rules).”
Jones told a Honolulu paper that he thought the conference was “micromanaging” the situation.
Dooley said he had a conversation with officials prior to the game about it.
“What the referee told me is that they could do it as long as they weren’t on the field they could do the Haka,” he said. “We were out there during pre-game. Good teams it shouldn’t affect. It’s something traditional for Hawai’i.”
The decision to go for the win and not the tie in the overtime is a tough decision for any coach. Louisiana Tech coach Derek Dooley went for the win, and the Bulldogs came up empty when the 2-point conversion pass was batted away by a Hawai’i defender in the end zone.
“I made the decision after the first possession,” Dooley said. “I told our (offensive) coordinator we were going for it.”
Dooley admitted that he wasn’t sure if the defense could keep stopping Hawai’i.
“I think Derek made the right decision, and I told him so at midfield (after the game),” Jones said. “He did everything right.”
The often one-sided rivalry between Idaho and Washington State resumes this weekend when the 1-1 Vandals make the 8-mile drive up to Pullman in the Battle of the Palouse on Saturday.
Robb Akey, who served as WSU’s defensive coordinator for several years, is the Vandals’ first-year head coach. He was asked about his relationship with his former boss, Cougars head coach Bill Duba.
“The only thing different is that I go to a different office everyday,” Akey said. “We get together quite often. He’s one of my best friends. That won’t change. We still talk about things.”
Akey jokingly added that he has to remember to make the correct turn coming out of the tunnel so he ends up on the right sideline.
STREAK IS OVER
Boise State had the nation’s longest winning streak at 14 games before its 24-10 loss at Washington over the weekend.
“I’m certainly disappointed,” BSU coach Chris Petersen said. “I don’t feel like we played to our potential, and that’s always frustrating to a coach.”
The Broncos turned the ball over four times, three on interceptions by Taylor Tharp. All told, Tharp was responsible for all four turnovers.
Facing Washington was a huge step up in competition for Tharp, and he was unable to measure up last weekend.
HILL A TAD STEAMED
Fresno State coach Pat Hill said he was disappointed that his team’s contract with Oregon isn’t going to be renewed after five years.
This weekend’s game will be the fifth in Hill’s 11-year tenure, and the eighth overall. Hill is 0-4 against the Ducks, but the four previous games have been decided by a total of 17 points.
“I hate to see the series end,” said Hill, who had to play four of the five games in Eugene. “They are playing a home and home with Boise. It hurts a little bit that we went there four times.”
A reporter pointed out later in the conference call that the series with BSU and the Ducks could be one game in Eugene and one overseas.
USU LOSES CHILDS
The Aggies lost defensive lineman Ben Childs (broken leg) for the season, leaving a huge hole in the middle of the defense.
“We had already moved Greg Clark over (from offense),” Utah State coach Brent Guy said. “We may move Ben Calderwood inside (at times). We have a little more depth at end than we do at tackle.”
Guy said that true freshman Jervon Graves played about 30 snaps last weekend in a loss to Wyoming.
Hawai’i quarterback Colt Brennan was named the Western Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Week for the second consecutive time after passing for 548 yards and four touchdowns in a 45-44 overtime win over Louisiana Tech in the conference opener for both schools.
Hawai’i kicker Dan Kelly and Idaho linebacker Brandon Ogletree were named the top specialist and top defender, respectively.
Kelly boomed a 49-yard field goal with 1:34 remaining in regulation to force the game into overtime. He also converted six PATs.
Ogletree finished the Vandals’ 20-13 win with 11 tackles, forced two fumbles and recovered one. The 13 points the Vandals allowed was the lowest since 2005.
• Contact Darrell Moody at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling (775) 881-1281