Spencer looking to break out | NevadaAppeal.com

Spencer looking to break out

Appeal Sports Writer

RENO – Caleb Spencer is frustrated, and he’d like nothing better than to take his frustration out on Hawai’i Saturday night.

Spencer, who grew up in Hawai’i but wasn’t recruited by the Rainbow Warriors, is looking forward to returning home for at least a couple of days. He’s been in the process of trying to scrounge up tickets for family and friends.

“We haven’t beaten them over there since I came here,” Spencer said after Tuesday’s practice. “The last time we went there, they murdered us.

“For me, it’s my rivalry. This game is bigger for me more than UNLV for personal reasons.”

A big, productive game would wipe out the frustration that Spencer has felt much of the season, especially last week when he went without a catch. He leads the team with 25 catches, but he’s averaging less than 10 yards a catch and he hasn’t scored yet.

“It’s like my mom said, you can only control what you can control,” Spencer said. “It was a tough win. I was really happy we won and my wife was excited, but it was frustrating personally because I had no catches.”

Spencer is a proud young man. No doubt he felt that he didn’t contribute, or get a chance to contribute. That in itself is frustrating when you are used to being the leading receiver all the time like Spencer has been the last couple of years.

Head coach Chris Ault said it’s circumstances and not that Spencer’s play has dropped off.

“We’re running the ball better,” Ault said, alluding to the Pack’s 162-yard average per game. “It’s based on reads, and we just aren’t throwing the ball that much.

“The pistol offense provides a lot of different opportunities. I felt with the field position we had (last week) it was better to run more. We only threw 15 passes.”

And, Spencer is knowledgeable enough to realize that.

“The running game is just working, and if something is working, you can’t go away from it,” Spencer said. “The tight end is more involved, and that’s part of the game. I’m frustrated because I want to make plays and contribute.”

Rowe thinks it’s only a matter of time before he and Spencer get back on track like they have the past two years. Sooner or later somebody is going to step up and stop the run, and that’s when Rowe will start throwing the ball more often.

“He’s pumped up and ready to go,” Rowe said. “We haven’t been getting balls to him, and he of course wants it.”

Spencer said he got a little more attention than usual from Fresno State and Arizona State, but in the last three games, teams have used more of a base defense against the Pack.

• Playing Hawai’i’s run and shoot offense is a chore for any defense, and this year’s team is just as dangerous as last year’s group, especially quarterback Colt Brennan.

“His arm is stronger,” said Ken Wilson, assistant head coach. “He’s throwing the ball deeper and he throws with more velocity this year. Since last year, he’s gained a lot of confidence.”

• The Pack are trying to redshirt safety Sergio Villasenor, who had a shoulder injury earlier in the year, according to co-defensive coordinator Tim DeRuyter.

Villasenor was working with the scout team as a wide receiver at times. DeRuyter did say that if any of the safeties get hurt, the Pack won’t hesitate to use him as long as he is healthy.

• The Pack is a 9 1/2-point underdog on Saturday. Considering they have been outscored by more than 25 points a game (average) at Hawai’i that shouldn’t shock too many people.

• Robert Hubbard worked out a little bit. His status is still uncertain for this weekend. When asked about his status, Ault had no comment.

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