The time is now for Nevada’s Bishop
The time is now for Nevada’s Bishop
BY DARRELL MOODY
Appeal Sports Writer
RENO – Adam Bishop has been patient beyond the norm.
Bishop has been in the mix at tight end ever since he arrived at the University of Nevada campus, but he’s never been “the guy”. That time has arrived.
After watching Anthony Pudewell do much of the work at tight end the last couple of years, Bishop, now a senior, is No. 1 entering the opening of fall camp.
“I’m real excited for the season to start,” Bishop said at the recent Western Athletic Conference Media Day. “I’m hoping not to get hurt, so I can stay healthy for an entire season.”
That’s the rub.
The 6-foot-5, 250-pound Bishop, who caught 11 passes for 129 yards last season, has been slowed by nagging injuries since his sophomore year when he pulled a hamstring two weeks before camp and then re-aggravated the injury the week of the Washington State game. He also suffered from a staph infection from the FieldTurf. Last year, he missed four games with a hip injury, but came back and start in the MPC Computer Bowl game against Miami.
“He can be as good as there has ever been here,” head coach Chris Ault said. “He’s got to play every game. He’s been on and off the field with nagging injuries, nothing special. We’re looking for consistency. He can be a good player.”
Cameron Norcross, who coaches tight ends, agreed with his boss.
“He’s big and strong as anybody we’ve had here,” Norcross said. “He’s a guy you want to play tight end. He plays hard all the time. He’s the total package.”
Bishop is trying to replace a good tight end in Pudewell, who was essentially a four-year starter. Pudewell, known primarily more for his blocking, caught 21 passes for 198 yards and two scores. Bishop is quicker and probably has better hands.
“Maybe that’s the case,” Bishop said. “A lot of people have been telling me that I’m the best receiver. I’ve played behind Anthony, and he’s been great. I’ve learned a lot from him.”
Norcross said that Bishop is best athlete he’s coached at tight end.
“We’ve been blessed with some pretty good players here in Anthony (Pudewell) and Tony Moll,” Norcross said. “They (Pudewell and Bishop) are pretty similar. They are both excellent kids.
“Anthony was essentially a four-year starter. He was a good blocker. Bishop is good in the run game. He’s faster and can go down the seam better (than players we’ve had). He’s a little more of a pass-catching threat. He can get more vertical. He’s also more versatile. We can split him out a little bit and we’ve used him as an H-back. Anthony was more of a pure tight end.”
When Nevada uses two tight ends, you may very well see Bishop lined up wide and Junior Puloka line up in the more traditional tight end spot next to one of the tackles.
“Junior is coming off a real nice spring,” Norcross said. “We were very pleasantly surprised. We knew Junior could do it.”
According to Ault, Puloka was the most improved lineman on either side of the ball during spring drills, and the former Hug star will push Bishop hard this summer. Virgil Green, who had off-season knee surgery and junior college transfer Kevin Bohr are the other tight ends on the roster.
Bishop’s value extends to special teams, too. He’ll be the snapper for punts and place kicks this season.
“He’s actually been a long snapper since he got here five years ago,” said Barry Sacks, special teams coordinator. “I remember he did it in high school. I didn’t give him a chance not to do it. He’s a good long snapper. He’s a good athlete and skilled at it.”
Bishop is following in the steps of some pretty good snappers – J.J. Milan and Travis Branzell. Bishop has been honing his craft during practice sessions. Like the tight end spot, Bishop has been waiting patiently for his opportunity to be a long snapper.
• Contact Darrell Moody at email@example.com, or by calling (775) 881-1281