What we learned from Nevada’s Silver and Blue Spring game on Saturday


The Nevada football team played its annual Silver and Blue spring game on Saturday, giving the public a first look at the new Wolf Pack team led by first-year head coach Ken Wilson.

The Silver team came out on top 55-46, although the scoring system was different from previous seasons under Jay Norvell, when one team (usually 2nd, 3rd strings) started with a lead of several affected.

The offense was tallied the same – six for the touchdown, three for field goals, two-point conversions worth two and one for points after. The defense, however, also had scoring opportunities: seven points for touchdowns, three for three outs, three for takeouts, two points for a defensive save, two for safeties and one for each tackle. for loss.

“We started doing that when I was at Oregon and it gives the defense a chance to be more involved in the game.” Wilson said after the scrum. “Not only do they play [get stops], but they can actually get points. The coaches on the headset were funny to listen to because they don’t like the score ringing fast enough and they don’t like to see that. But for gamers, it’s great. Defensive players, if they get a tackle for loss, a sack or a three and out, they accumulate points just like the offense. So everyone is involved in the score.

Both teams had a fairly even mix of starters and substitutes. Notable blue team players were Nate Cox, Aaron Frost, Toa Taua and Tyson Williams while the silver team included Devonte Lee, Dom Peterson and Bentlee Sanders.

“When you mix teams like that up for a spring game and you have guys on both sides, you never really know how it’s going to go,” Wilson said. “I thought it was smooth. There weren’t many penalties there.

“We wanted to see the execution; we wanted to see long car rides; we wanted to see guys playing for a long time. Most of our guys played a few scrimmages with only 20-30 plays in the lead. And today they played a good half and the second half was obviously a stopwatch, but they played a good half of football tonight. So we got to see them tired, we got to see the offenses being stopped, we got to see them driving – so we just got to play football and it was fun to be back there.

Here are a few things we learned during Saturday’s Spring Affair:

1. Cox is the QB’s favorite so far:

As expected, 6-foot-9 quarterback Nate Cox took the most reps at quarterback, starting all but one quarterback practice for the blue team – while Jake Barlage and Jonah Chong parted ways behind center for the silver team.

Cox completed 9 of 20 passes for 177 yards, one touchdown and no turnovers. He connected with freshman Victor Snow, who finished with a record four catches for 89 yards, for 77 yards on the third play of the game.

If the offseason were to end today, it’s fair to conclude that Cox would be the team’s starting quarterback. Apart Oklahoma State transfer Shane Illingworth – who is not a campus, but is expected to compete for the starting job when he arrives this summer – Cox is the only player to throw a pass at the Division-I level, completing 27 of 45 for 289 yards , two touchdowns and an interception.

“I was thinking [the quarterback room] made good decisions today. I don’t think we had any interceptions today,” Cox said after the scrimmage. “[QBs coach Nate Costa] told us after that he wanted to see more consistency from us… Making those completions and giving the ball to our guys and letting them work is something I would say we can improve a bit; overall accuracy and consistency.

2. New look at the attack:

With Jay Norvell and Matt Mumme bringing the Air Raid offense to Fort Collins, Wilson and freshman offensive coordinator Derek Sage needed to implement a new offensive scheme to fit his vanguard roster. The mixed attack looks out of the gun and pistol, while blending into the I formation under center.

“I was thinking [both teams] played hard,” Wilson said. “There were a lot of formations – we threw a lot of stuff out there so we could see it on film. It was successful that way, to just let them play and enjoy a game situation.”

The Wolf Pack exhibited a more stable run-pass balance than the Norvell Air Raid, which had the fourth-lowest run frequency (35.8%) in the nation a year ago.

Both teams combined 45 non-quarterback carries for 185 yards (4.1 yards per carry) against 50 passes for 285 yards (5.7 yards per attempt). Wesley Kommer (10 carries, 98 yards, 1 TD), transfer Oregon Cross Patton (12 drives, 23 yards) and returning starter Toa Taua (11 drives, 34 yards, 1 TD) were the most involved in the racing game.

“When offenses are split and different guys play together, it sometimes becomes like that,” Wilson said when asked about the periodic stagnation. “The racing game, because we didn’t show a lot of different racing games, was in spurts. But we arrived late [second half] and they got going and did some good runs. It’s something new for these guys – the racing game – and we’re working on it. We had 29 more practices in the fall to prepare them for the first game.

3. Still some work to do to solidify the depth chart:

The Nevada roster underwent important roster turnover from 2021, when it finished 8-5, to this year. Here’s a not-so-fun fact: the pack is here. only team in the country to return less than 30% of their 2021 production (27%), 20% in attack and 34% in defense.

With an all-new roster featuring plenty of new faces, Wilson expressed his desire to solidify a depth roster. He noted after Saturday’s scrimmage that they had made progress in consolidating said table, but still had a lot of progress to make before the fall.

“I don’t know if we’ve solidified a few positions, but we’ll leave it open,” he said. “We have other guys coming in (in the summer) who are going to be involved in depth in the fall… There are guys who are solidifying parts of the depth, but we have a lot more work to do. We had a successful spring, but we need to go further to prepare for the football season.

4. Wilson stress velocity, tempo:

Wilson made it clear that he insisted the team was operating at a much faster pace, acknowledging that the players had come a long way in the progress made.

“I’m on them all the time. We are an offensive attack, we are a defensive attack, we attack on special teams,” he said. “We have to have the threat of going fast and attacking at all times. We don’t want to stand there and watch the sidelines – we want to be in constant motion, in constant motion… Our game is fast, we are always at threat to get us moving, so defensive coaches have to watch that and make sure if they’re not careful, [the offense is] will go tempo. Same thing defensively: we want to be on the line of scrimmage, ready to play and ready to play fast.

“[The players] come a long way because it was so foreign to them to see this team moving around the field. But after 15 practices, they start to understand and you saw it tonight. They want to go fast… now you have to calibrate when you play well, when you hold the ball. You can’t go fast all the time, but you have to have the threat of it. We progress like this. »

Some players who impressed me:

  • RB Wesley Kommer
  • DT William Green Jr.
  • BY Breylon Garcia
  • WR Victor Snow
  • WR Jamal Bell
  • TE Carlton Brown Jr.
  • DB Dorian Green-Warren

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