Redshirts give Nevada bright future
Mike McCoy, Dominic Green, Luke Lippincott and Robert Hubbard. Remember those names. They are the future of Nevada football.
The three freshmen and one junior college transfer have yet to step on the field this year, and won’t unless the Wolf Pack get hit with a rash of injuries at their positions.
The quartet were the key signees in last spring’s recruiting class, Ault’s first since his return to the gridiron, and all four have bright futures according to the veteran head coach.
More importantly, they come from solid, successful football programs.
“You go to schools that have been successful, and that’s how you find out about other players that have played against those schools,” Ault said. “The kids from the successful programs know how to win and bring that winning attitude with them.”
Green, a 6-foot-3 277-pound tackle out of Jesuit High School in Sacramento, a perennial powerhouse in the Sac Joaquin Section, has been listed on the depth chart behind Harvey Dahl all season, and Ault admitted there have been discussions about playing him throughout the season. Ault likes his versatility. Green is big enough and quick enough to play anywhere on the front line.
“He’s a great athlete for an offensive lineman,” Ault said. “We’ll see where he ends up after we evaluate things and look at him in spring ball. He can play either guard or tackle.”
Green admitted the jump from high school to college has been tremendous.
“It’s so much quicker and everybody is stronger,” Green said after Monday’s practice. “I always played the left side both on offense and defense, and here on offense you rotate sides (of the line) all the time. You’ve got to be organized and be able to pick up things quickly.”
“What has surprised me is the competition during practice. In high school, you really didn’t have any. Once you had the job it was pretty much yours as long as you played hard. I love that (competition). You get out there and give it your all like it was your last day.”
Green believes he has learned so much from line coach Chris Klenakis that he could play if called upon.
“I have confidence in myself,” Green said. “I know the coaches have confidence in me. I’m happy I’ve been able to use my red shirt year to my benefit.”
Green has made every road trip this year because of injuries on the front line and his effort at practice.
While he’s done a good job, he knows he has a long ways to go.
“I want to get stronger and faster,” the freshman tackle said. “I don’t know that I want to put on much more weight. My goal is to get quicker.”
McCoy came to Nevada from Colfax High. He and former Nevada recruit Ben Galbraith led Colfax to the 2A section title as seniors. The 6-foot 180-pound receiver has wowed people with his ability to catch the ball while working against the Wolf Pack defense during practice.
“I’ve learned a lot of stuff; a lot of good things,” McCoy said. “It’s been tough working hard during the week and then sitting in the stands on Saturdays watching. I really didn’t mind (redshirting). I’m glad I was able to get to experience all this.”
With the Wolf Pack losing Talib Wise and Dell McGee to graduation, McCoy has a legitimate chance to play a lot next season. He’ll be battling with returnees Nichiren Flowers, Caleb Spencer, Alex Rosenblum, Kyle Eklund, Jarred Belser and Trevor Brackett for playing time next season.
“If it wasn’t for what we have out there right now, he’d be playing this year,” Ault said. “He runs great routes and gets great body position on routes. He has a nice feel to running his routes.”
Ault said that when Brackett was going through some tough family problems and Eklund fractured his collarbone, there was thought to playing McCoy.
When Ault talked about Lippincott on signing day, the one thing he raved about was the versatility of the former Palma High School star from Salinas, Calif. Ault said that the 6-foot-2 200-pound Lippincott could be a safety, a cornerback, linebacker or running back.
Ault appears to have ruled out offense for Lippincott, much to the freshman’s chagrin. He moved Lippincott to cornerback during summer workouts when two cornerbacks, Steven Murphy and Rodney Landingham, were booted off the team after being arrested. His eventual position may be at one of the safety spots.
“Running back is my passion,” said Lippincott, who rushed for more than 2,000 yards and scored 30 TDs in his prep career. “I loved it so much.
“I’d like to be a strong safety (here). They have also talked about maybe playing the Wolf back (outside linebacker). That’s more like what I played in high school.”
Ault said Lippincott will be evaluated after the season is over, and cornerback or free safety are his likely positions.
“He could be a combo coverage guy (role corner),” Ault said. “If he gets bigger, we can move him to strong safety.”
Hubbard, a 5-10 195-pound running back from Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill, Calif., rushed for more than 1,500 yards and 23 touchdowns last year for the Vikings.
Hubbard, according to Ault, is the second-fastest running back behind redshirt freshman Drew Robinson.
“He”s very, very quick,” Ault said. “He certainly could have played this year if we didn’t have what we have at running back (Chance Kretschmer, B.J. Mitchell and Robinson). He’ll do a nice job for us next year. He can catch the ball. He’s everything we want (in that position).”
Hubbard said the transition has been tougher than expected, and it’s tested him physically and mentally.
“You’re asked to do a lot more in this offense,” he said. “You have to pick up the blitzes where you are taking on linebackers. There’s more to this offense than just running the ball.
“The biggest difference (between JC and Nevada) is lifting weights and the time you spend in meetings plus going to all your classes,” Hubbard said. “This is the first time I’ve ever practiced and actually not played in the games. I thought I was going to play The redshirt year has been good. It’s given me a chance to learn the system.”
And open some eyes in the process.
Contact Darrell Moody at firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-1281.