With spring football over, here are the three things we learned about Nevada football after spring football and the Battle Born Showdown.
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Three observations on Nevada football after spring football
The 2022 edition of Spring Football is in the books for the Wolf Pack. The Battle Born Showdown which took place on April 23 between the Silver and Blue teams marked the end of spring football for Nevada.
This version of Spring Football for Nevada features major changes for the Wolf Pack football program. Gone are NFL-bound players such as Carson Strong, Romeo Doubs and Cole Turner and former head coach Jay Norvell as he leaves to coach the Colorado State Rams.
Ken Wilson, who comes from the University of Oregon where he was defensive coordinator, assumes the role of head coach of Nevada. With this edition of the Battle Born Showdown, Wilson has brought a new scoring system to Oregon. This scoring system allows the defense to score points each time they register a tackle for loss, three and outs, takeouts and sacks.
As for the match between the Blue team and the Silver team, it was a close contest throughout the competition. The difference was when silver running back Wes Kommer scored on a 55-yard touchdown run late in the fourth quarter that propelled the silver team to a 55-46 victory over the blue team.
With spring training over, here are my three observations on Nevada football after spring football:
Nevada’s offensive line this spring underwent a major personnel change as the Wolf Pack returns only one starter from last year’s team, right tackle Aaron Frost. Nevada is not only going through a change in personnel, but also a change in style of play, moving from air raids to a more balanced offense that emphasizes running the ball.
In an attempt to achieve a more balanced offense, the Wolf Pack brought in three offensive lineman transfers with playing experience in Joey Capra (San Diego State), Kai Arenson (Oregon) and Cole Feinauer (Norwegian State). Colorado). the offensive line and running game struggled in the first half, but in the second half there were signs of improvement capped by Kommer’s game-winning touchdown.
The top-down nature of Nevada’s offensive line demonstrates that the unit needs to improve over the summer. If the offensive line improves, the running game will benefit and the new, balanced offense that Nevada is installing can thrive.
Needless to say, it won’t be an easy task for Nevada to replace Carson Strong and his production. With the new offense Coach Wilson is building, quarterbacks won’t be tasked with putting up big Air Raid-type numbers, but just being tough and avoiding mistakes.
In the Battle Born Showdown, Nevada quarterbacks: Nate Cox, Jake Barlage, Jonah Chong and Baylor Horning all had their moments snapping under center. Jake Barlage’s highlight was completing a 34-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Jamaal Bell as Bell finished the game with three catches for 49 yards.
However, it was Nate Cox’s performance in the Battle Born Showdown that further cemented him as the favorite to be the starting quarterback. Cox completed 9 of 20 passes for 177 passing yards and a touchdown pass that was a 77 bomb from Cox to Victor Snow. With the transfer of Oklahoma State QB Shane Illingworth should be available during summer camp, look for Cox and Illingworth to compete for the starting quarterback position throughout the summer and possibly into the fall.
In total, Nevada quarterbacks completed 20 of 50 passes for 285 yards and two touchdowns in the spring game. Basically, it’s the type of quarterback play that Wolf Pack fans should expect in the future: solid, stable, and no turnover.
Senior running backs Toa Taua and Devontae Lee have been the two main cogs in the Wolf Pack’s running offense for the past few years. Under Coach Wilson’s new balanced attack that emphasizes ball management, expect Taua and Lee to be used even more than in previous seasons. The importance of Taua and Lee in ball management will be key as they will be needed to relieve quarterback pressure no matter who ends up starting at QB for Nevada.
The big question for Nevada is who will support Taua and Lee at running back. The favorite to support Taua and Lee now that Spring Football is over appears to be Wesley Kommer. Kommer, a 5-foot-9 junior from Oregon, rushed for 98 yards on 10 carries and scored a touchdown in the spring game as he led all Nevada running backs in rushes and rushing yards.
Kommer is a sneaky, quicker running back than Taua and Lee and could be a nice change of pace for Nevada this season. The race to be Nevada’s third running back this season will be a three-way race for now with Kommer, second Jacques Badolato-Birdsell and Oregon Cross transfer Patton looking to back up Taua and Lee this fall.