‘Sevor-ed’ ties: Nevada high on safety
RENO – Shannon Sevor is all about effort and intensity.
Those two attributes allowed Sevor, a redshirt freshman, to go from third on the Nevada’s depth chart at strong safety to a starting job in the last three weeks.
Sevor has responded with solid play. Through three games, the 5-10 195-pounder from Hollister, Calif., has 12 tackles, 11 of which have come since he took over the starting job from Nick Hawthrone, who lost his starting job after the Louisiana Tech loss due to poor effort, according to the coaching staff.
“I’m getting a little more confident,” said Sevor, who makes his third straight start Saturday night when Nevada visits the San Diego State Aztecs in a nonconference football game at Qualcomm Stadium.
“Things are becoming easier each week. I try to bring total intensity as long as I play. I
always try to play with a lot of emotion. I was down on the depth chart and I just tried to play hard every day. I play my heart off whether it’s a scrimmage or practice.”
That’s what has caught the attention of Dave Fipp, the co-defensive coordinator and secondary coach.
“He’s more emotional about the game (than Nick), and he played harder,” Fipp said. “He’s doing the best job in the secondary in terms of playing with emotion and tackling the ball carrier. It’s a huge thing for us. Playing with a lot of emotion can cover up some things.
“I felt like at strong safety he could do those things for us. That’s what we were looking for. I didn’t know we’d get that out of him (so soon).”
And, although he may give up two or three inches and 20 pounds to many strong safeties around the country, Sevor doesn’t think he’s too small. Neither does Fipp.
“I don’t think size matters,” Sevor said matter-of-factly. “It’s all about desire. I try to mirror myself after Mike Dodd (Ohio State safety). There’s a lot of 5-10 guys out there. They play with heart.”
“He hits as hard as anybody (we have),” Fipp said. “He’s done a good job. He earned this job before Nick got hurt. We’ll see how it goes. Right now, I think it is (the best spot).”
One of the things Fipp continually has to remind Sevor about is his alignment on the field. Certain play calls require him to be in certain places, and sometimes Sevor isn’t where he’s supposed to be when the ball is snapped.
“It’s nothing major,” Fipp said. “A couple of yards off here and there.”
“It takes a little getting used to,” Sevor said. “I get in the high school mode where I line up where I think the best spot is. It’s mostly about my judgment.”
Fipp believes Sevor will improve, and the youngster wants desperately to get better. You can here it in his voice. There’s nothing nonchalant about his attitude.
It’s all business.
“The coaches want players to get better everyday,” Sevor said. “Everyday I set a personal goal I try to accomplish. It could be reading the quarterback’s eyes. It could be making so many tackles at practice.
“It could be getting to the receiver or ball carrier and making a big play (causing a fumble or intercepting a pass). All those things will make me better.”
Each week is a new test for Sevor, and he knows he’s only as good as his last exam. He’s passed the first two (Sac State and Buffalo), but this one will be much more difficult. He’s gotten a look (on film) at Aztec receivers Jeff Webb and Robert Ortiz, and knows the Wolf Pack will have their hands full.
“The test is this weekend,” Sevor said. “They are much better (team) than what we faced the first two games.
“Theyíre (Webb and Ortiz) great players. I’m not taking anything away from them. If the defense can play with a high level of intensity, I believe we’ll be able to lock those guys down.”
That’s not bravado, just a guy who believes that effort and intensity can make a big difference.
Head coach Chris Ault was an unhappy man during Wednesday’s practice. At one point, he delivered a stern lecture to his defensive linemen, dropping a few F-bombs along the way. He later berated his offensive line and some of his wide receivers. And, he again berated the entire defense at the conclusion of practice.
Ault later said he was steamed at the lack of effort.
“We only have so many days to get ready for a game,” he said. “To have a lack of effort and think it’s all right doesn’t cut it.”
Defensive end Charles Wilson broke his left foot during Tuesday’s practice, and could be lost for the remainder of the season.
Wilson had played well the first three weeks. He recovered two fumbles, garnered seven tackles, including 4 1/2 behind the line, and had one sack.
Erics Clark undoubtedly moves into the reserve spot behind starter J.J. Milan. Craig Bailey is the other starting end, and he’s backed up by Cory Fagan.
Ezra Butler, a redshirt freshman, is expected to start for the injured P.J. Hoeper at defensive tackle on Saturday. Hoeper dislocated a toe against Buffalo.
LEPORI LEAVES NEVADA
Ex-Bishop Manogue star Bobby Lepori, who originally gave a verbal agreement to attend Fresno State and then signed with Nevada, has left Nevada and enrolled at Fresno State. Obviously he’s ineligible to play this year, and former Manogue teammate Matt Virden said he expects Lepori to be on scholarship later this spring.
Contact Darrell Moody at firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-1281.