Pack offense ahead of defense | NevadaAppeal.com

Pack offense ahead of defense

DARRELL MOODY
Appeal Sports Writer

In baseball, pitchers are usually ahead of the hitters for a while in the early part of the season.

You would think the same would be true in football, and that Nevada’s defense, with eight returning starters, would be ahead of the offense, which lost it’s top receiver, passer and rusher.

That hasn’t been the case. Nevada’s offense is averaging 432 yards a game, and has played consistently better the past two weeks. The defense is allowing 35 points and 422 yards a game. The run defense has been especially poor, allowing 276 yards per game.

“Our offense is ahead of our defense,” Nevada coach Chris Ault said. “Our (defensive) front needs to get tougher, more aggressive.”

Ault praised the play of inside linebacker Josh Mauga, who leads the team in tackles with 38, and is coming off a 14-tackle effort against Nicholls State in the Pack’s 52-17 win.

Part of the problem with the defense is it has had injuries and off-the-field issues.

Outside linebacker Ezra Butler was suspended for the opener, and missed last week’s game against Nicholls State with a quadriceps injury. Defensive end Erics Clark (knee) has been in and out of the lineup.

Ault won’t use it as an excuse. Instead, he looks at it as an opportunity to get some of his younger players more experience.

WHAT’S NEXT

With a bye this week, Ault will hold practices through Friday, and then give the players the weekend off before starting preparation for the game against UNLV on Sept. 29 at Mackay Stadium.

“To a degree it does help (bye coming this week),” Ault said. “We had three defensive starters out and a couple of offensive guys played sparingly. That (time off) is certainly going to help. We certainly could use the practice. Our practices are going to be physical this week.”

Ault said that the staff has already broken up film on UNLV, and he said the Rebels are much improved over last year.

“They run a spread offense and throw the ball over the lot,” Ault said.

Nevada has held the Fremont Cannon for two straight years, and Ault & Co. would like nothing better than to make it three straight.

HE CAN BLOCK, TOO

When Nevada ran a flanker reverse with Arthur King on Saturday, it was none other than quarterback Nick Graziano leading the blocking brigade.

“He was a linebacker in high school for two years,” Ault said. “If you saw him (up close) you’d say that he looks like a linebacker.”

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