Wolf Pack looks forward to meeting storied program in MPC Computers Bowl | NevadaAppeal.com

Wolf Pack looks forward to meeting storied program in MPC Computers Bowl

RENO – Nevada football has been a part of Chris Ault’s life for more than 40 years, both as a coach and athletic director. It’s certainly safe to say he bleeds silver and blue.

And, it’s even safer to say that Ault is ecstatic about where the program is and the opportunity to play a nationally recognized program like the University of Miami in the upcoming MPC Computers Bowl, Dec. 31 in Boise, Idaho.

“For me personally, it’s exciting,” Ault said during a Western Athletic Conference teleconference Monday morning. “You look back on the program four years ago and say ‘Hey what would you think if you’re in a bowl game and playing Miami.’

“I think that people here and certainly around the country would have thrown their shoulders back. The opportunity was just non-exisistent at the time.

“It shows where the program has come the last three years. Having an opportunity to play such a great program is very, very special. One of the things I’m happy about is it gives you a chance to showcase your program against one of the greatest programs in the country.”

The Boise State-Nevada rivalry has gotten big over the last several years, and Ault was asked if he would have the backing of what few Boise fans don’t go to Arizona to watch their team play in the Fiesta Bowl against Oklahoma on Jan. 1.

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“I really don’t know, I haven’t given it any thought,” Ault said. “My biggest concern is to keep our team focused and to play hard-nosed football. I’d like to think that fans would support the team from the (WAC) conference.”

A reporter from Boise asked Ault if he was out to break the jinx on the blue turf. Nevada has lost four straight games on the Broncos’ home field.

“I don’t know if it’s a jinx,” Ault said. “We’ve played a darned good football team there, and this year is no exception.”

This year’s Miami team may not be the juggernaut it was in the past, but the Hurricanes are still a formidable opponent despite their 6-6 record.

“All you have to do is put on the film,” Ault said. “I don’t have to remind them (Nevada kids). They have some great athletes and a tremendous football tradition. I know people are saying they are 6-6 and so-and-so. The games they have played, they have been in the majority of them. They would lose 17-14 and so forth.”

Ault has been impressed with Kirby Freeman, who started the Hurricanes’ last three games.

“The first thing that stands out is that he’s an excellent athlete,” Ault said. “He can run. He can do a lot of things to hurt you.” Ault also pointed out that three weeks of preparation will certainly help Freeman.

• Miami defensive back Glenn Sharpe recently won the 2006 Brian Piccolo Award given annually by the Athletic Coast Conference.

The Piccolo Award has been given annually since 1972 in memory of the late Brian Piccolo to the “most courageous” football player in the ACC. Piccolo was the ACC Athlete of the Year in 1965 and played for the Chicago Bears before his career was cut short by cancer.

After missing all but two games in 2004 and 2005 due to injuries, Sharpe, a 6-foot, 187-pound cornerback returned to the field this fall and started in all 12 regular season games for the Hurricanes. The Miami, Fla., junior has 29 tackles and two interceptions. In addition, Sharpe is tied for second in the ACC with 15 passes defended.

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