WAC Notebook | NevadaAppeal.com

WAC Notebook

WAC Notebook

BY DARRELL MOODY

Appeal Sports Writer

Nevada coach Chris Ault said beating UNLV doesn’t really make a difference when it’s time to go out and recruit each year.

“Recruiting is selling,” Ault said on the Western Athletic Conference teleconference Monday morning. “A lot of guys (coaches) are good salesmen. It gives you bragging rights in the state. It might get you into a lot more homes.”

It’s not known how often the two rivals go head-to-head in the recruiting wars. Nevada has had some success recruiting the Las Vegas area in recent years. Center Jimmy Wadhams and kicker Brett Jaekle are just two of the players that made the trek from Southern Nevada and enjoyed success at the University of Nevada.

The Pack just recently got a verbal commitment from a senior running back out of Las Vegas.

Nevada certainly goes head-to-head with the Pac-10 quite often as well as other schools in the WAC and Mountain West Conference.

On a different note, Ault is approaching this week’s rivalry game a little differently than the past couple of years. He has closed practice every day, and limited interview requests to his four captains – Matt Hines, Joshua Mauga, Adam Bishop and Charles Manu.

Ault did say he expects center Dom Green (broken foot), Bishop (groin) and Ezra Butler (quadriceps injury) to play this weekend.

NO COLT, NO PROBLEM

Hawaii played without quarterback Colt Brennan, its Heisman Trophy candidate, and still overpowered Charleston Southern 66-10 Saturday.

Tyler Graunke filled in for Brennan (ankle sprain) and completed 22-of-36 passes for 285 yards and three touchdowns.

“Colt (Brennan) could have played Saturday night, but I didn’t want him to,” Jones said on Monday. “Colt makes the offense run smoothly but so does Tyler. It was a little frustrating for me to watch the tape. Of the 36 throws that Tyler made, all of the incompletions with the exception of three were receiver errors.

“It is too bad – I didn’t hear the booing – it kind of appalls me that that would happen to one of our kids. I just told (Tyler) during the game he was doing really well and was making good throws.”

Jones was asked if Brennan reminded him of anybody he had coached or played with or against.

“It’s a combination of a lot of players,” Jones said. “He’s a Jim Kelly kind of leader. He has arm strength like Chris Miller and Jeff George. He is more accurate than anybody except Jeff George. He’s starting to understand and see things (better). He doesn’t take a lot of sacks.”

MORE ON HAWAII

Hawaii has found a couple of good young players in C.J. Hawthorne and Malcom Lane. Hawthorne caught five passes for 91 yards and two scores, and Lane four catches for 54 yards in relief of Jason Rivers.

“I anticipated it (Hawthorne’s play) after watching him (n the fall camp),” Jones said. “He’s going to be a guy that changes the way teams play us. He runs a 4.3, plays hard and gives us another dimension on the outside. Malcom Lane is that way. He’s coming around.”

LOVING MUMME

You have to love Hal Mumme.

The New Mexico State coach has probably the best sense of humor of all the WAC coaches, and the media usually hears at least one joke during the weekly teleconference.

The Aggies played Auburn tough for a half, but the riled-up Tigers turned a one-point lead into a 55-20 victory last weekend.

“I should have left at halftime and got my check,” Mumme said. “The second half we didn’t have three of our four top receivers. They could double and triple-team Chris Williams.”

Nick Cleaver and A.J. Harris suffered sprained ankles and may not play this weekend against Arkansas-Pine Bluff. Derek DuBois and Jeremiah Williams were unavailable for disciplinary reasons. In fact, DuBois’ suspension was two games.

Chase Holbrook has nine interceptions, but Mumme said he’s not worried.

“Blind luck,” the coach said. “Out of the nine, only on two did he make a bad decision.”

Mumme said several of the picks are a result of batted balls and tipped balls.

UTAH STATE COACH SURPRISED

Brent Guy said he was surprised when San Jose State ran 42 empty-set backfields in 80 snaps last weekend.

“We’d only seen 16 snaps (in that set) in the first three games,” Guy said. “Dick (Tomey, San Jose State coach) likes to run the ball.”

That was before Yonus Davis (ankle) and Patrick Perry (knee), the Spartans’ top two running backs, were lost with injuries. Davis is week-to-week, but Perry is gone for the season. Until Davis gets back, one can assume that Tomey will rely a lot more on quarterback Adam Tafralis.

STAT STALWARTS

Several players have garnered top-5 rankings, according to the NCAA’s recent release.

Brennan is second in total offense with 432.0 yards per game, nearly all of it passing. Louisiana Tech’s Philip Beck is first in the nation in punt returns with a 26.2-yard average, while Hawaii’s Michael Washington is second at 25.5 yards per return and Idaho’s Shiloh Keo is fifth at 21.0.

Louisiana Tech’s Tony Moss is second in interceptions with 1.0 per game. Another Bulldog, Weldon Brown, is fourth in kick returns with 33.2 yards per return.

Louisiana Tech defensive back Antonio Baker is second in the nation in tackles with 13.3 per game while Nevada linebacker Joshua Mauga is fifth with 12.7 per contest.

WAC HONOREES

San Jose State’s Adam Tafralis and Jonathan Harris were honored by the conference after their efforts led the Spartans to a narrow win over Utah State.

Tafralis completed 35 passes for 426 yards in the 23-20 win. Harris made two great defensive plays in the red zone to thwart the Aggies twice. He had a tackle behind the line of scrimmage which forced the Aggies to settle for three points in the second quarter, and then he intercepted a pass in the second half.

Kevin Robinson, Utah State’s versatile performer, was named the special teams player of the week. Robinson returned three kicks for 144 yards, including an 82-yard TD in the first half. He also returned three punts for 79 yards, including a 57-yarder.

• Contact Darrell Moody at dmoody@nevadaappeal.com, or by calling (775) 881-1281