SI.com 2003 College Football Preview




SI.com's College Football Team Previews - from Athlon Sports

  Nevada Wolf Pack

 
The Lowdown
Coach: Chris Tormey (4th year, 10-25)
2002 record: 5-7
WAC finish: T-4th
2002 offensive stats:
Rush: 137.8 ypg
(5th in WAC, 69th in nation)
Pass: 296.3 ypg (3rd, 11th)
2002 defensive stats:
Rush: 178.0 ypg (7th, 92nd)
Pass: 241.6 ypg (4th, 92nd)
Projected Starters
Offense (6 returning starters in bold)
WR  84  Nichiren Flowers  So. 
WR   81   Maurice Mann   Sr.  
WR   9   Tim Fleming   Sr.  
LT   78   Alan Parker   Sr.  
LG   62   Chris Hines   Jr.  
77  Kyle Gosselin  So. 
RG   79   Isaiah Ross   Sr.  
RT   74   Harvey Dahl   Jr.  
TE  86  Tony Moll  So. 
QB  Jeff Rowe  So. 
RB  23  Chance Kretschmer  Jr. 
Defense (8)
DE   55   Jorge Cordova   Sr.  
DT   56   Derek Kennard Jr.   Sr.  
DT   95   Chris Barry   Jr.  
DE  91  J.J. Milan  So. 
MLB   10   Daryl Towns   Sr.  
ILB   26   Logan Carter   So.  
Whip   19   Carl LaGrone Jr.   Sr.  
CB  11  Ali Jones  Sr. 
CB   8   Marlon McLaughlin   Jr.  
ROV  Ronnie Hardiman  Sr. 
FS   39   Keone Kauo   Jr.  
Special Teams
36  Damon Fine  Jr. 
37  Derek Jones  Sr. 
KR  Buddy Lewis  Sr. 
PR  Marlon McLaughlin  Jr. 
2003 Schedule
Aug. 30  Southern Utah 
Sept. 6  at Oregon 
Sept. 18  at San Jose State 
Sept. 27  SMU 
Oct. 4  UNLV 
Oct. 11  at Washington 
Oct. 18  at Tulsa 
Oct. 25  Louisiana Tech 
Nov. 1  at Rice 
Nov. 8  Fresno State 
Nov. 15  Hawaii 
Nov. 29  at Boise State 
As he heads into his fourth season as head coach at Nevada, Chris Tormey will have two things the program has sorely lacked since he took over for Jeff Tisdel in 2000: depth and experience.

Tormey welcomes back 14 starters, including eight on defense, from a squad that finished 5-7 overall and 4-4 in WAC play. Many of the returnees are two- and three-year starters who were forced into the lineup as freshmen and sophomores because of the team's lack of veteran talent.

"This will be the most experienced team we've had," Tormey said.

OFFENSIVE KEYS:

The bad news on offense is that the team's two top offensive players in 2002, wide receiver Nate Burleson and savvy quarterback Zack Threadgill, have departed.

On the positive side, junior running back Chance Kretschmer , a Freshman All-American two years ago when he led the nation in rushing with a school-record 1,732 yards, returns after missing most of 2002 with a knee injury. He and sophomore Matt Milton, who rushed for 1,108 yards and nine touchdowns last season, give Nevada quite a one-two punch in the backfield.

The lack of an experienced quarterback is one of the Pack's biggest concerns. Local product Jeff Rowe , a sophomore, is the likely starter.

With Burleson's departure, the Pack will spread the ball around this year. Seniors Tim Fleming and Maurice Mann and talented sophomore Nichiren Flowers all had solid seasons in Burleson's shadow.

The offensive line, which was plagued by injuries the past two seasons, returns four starters, including tackles Harvey Dahl and Alan Parker. Both starting guards, Isaiah Ross and Chris Hines, return, as does junior John Tennert, a two-year starter who missed last season with a knee injury. The one big loss is second team All-WAC center Cody Johnson.

DEFENSIVE KEYS:

Just how far the Wolf Pack can move up in the WAC could depend on how well a quick, but somewhat undersized defensive line improves. The top player up front is two-year team captain Jorge Cordova, who led the WAC in sacks with nine.

Senior middle linebacker Daryl Towns, a co-captain, returns to anchor a solid group that also includes sophomore inside linebacker Logan Carter, the 2002 WAC Defensive Freshman of the Year.

The secondary could be the strength of the defense. Three starters return, though cornerback Chris Handy will have to beat out senior Al Jones in preseason practice to retain his spot. The staff is excited about the debut of sophomore corner Randy Landingham, a highly touted transfer from Nebraska who will contend for a starting assignment in the fall.

SPECIAL TEAMS:

The Pack have two all-conference candidates returning in senior punter Derek Jones, a three-year starter, and junior kicker Damon Fine , who set school records for longest field goal (58 yards) and most field goals in a game (five) two years ago.

Nevada ranked 17th in the nation in kickoff returns (22.9), but averaged a dismal 4.9 yards per punt return, third-worst in the nation.

FINAL ANALYSIS:

It will be important for Nevada to get solid quarterback play to complement what figures to be a strong running game. The defense should mature into one of the WAC's stingiest units this season.

The Wolf Pack need to get off to a good start to build some momentum heading into the second-half schedule. Three of the first five games are at home, including winnable contests against Southern Utah, SMU and in-state rival UNLV.

Click here for complete index of 2003 team previews

To purchase the 2003 College Football Preview from Athlon Sports, click here.

 


 
CNNSI