Nevada Preview

Hall of fame coach Chris Ault leads the Wolfpack into the desert this weekend, marking the school's first ever trip to Tempe. While returning to the coaching ranks after serving as the school's athletic director, Ault devised the "pistol" offense, in which the quarterback lines up about three yards from the center as opposed to adopting a more traditional "shotgun" formation.

NEVADA WOLFPACK
2005 Record: 9-3, 7-1 WAC
Head Coach: Chris Ault


Series History: Nevada leads 2-0.

Last Week: The Wolfpack fell to Fresno State on the road, 28-19.

OFFENSE
*Projected Starters

QB Jeff Rowe, Sr.
LT Charles Manu, Jr.
LG Barrett Reznick, Sr.
C Jimmy Wadhams, Sr.
RG Greg Hall, So.
RT Dominic Green, So.
TE Anthony Pudewell, Sr.
RB Robert Hubbard, Sr.
WR Marko Mitchell, So.
WR Caleb Spencer, Sr.
WR Mike McCoy, So.

Establishing a ground game will be a top priority for the Wolfpack. Robert Hubbard has taken over for the departed B.J. Mitchell and rushed for 103 yards last week, in his first week as the feature back. The senior scored 11 times last season. Sophomore Luke Lippincott will spell Hubbard off the bench. Lippincott had the lone rushing touchdown last week in the season opener.

Senior quarterback Jeff Rowe will be commanding the unique offense. The gunslinger finished last season just under the 3,000 yard passing mark while notching 21 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. In his '06 debut, Rowe had a solid game, throwing for 183 yards and 2 scores.

Caleb Spencer returns as the team leader in receptions from a year ago. The senior caught 67 balls last season and has proven to be a solid target. Rowe did connect for 2 touchdowns with Mike McCoy last week, which doubled the sophomores scoring total from last season. Sophomore Marko Mitchell, a Mesa CC product, made his Wolfpack debut against the Bulldogs with a pair of catches. The senior quarterback will also look to his tight ends several times a game. Senior Anthony Pudewell caught 27 passes for 2 touchdowns in '05. Adam Bishop, a junior, will also get some looks at tight end.

DEFENSE
*Projected Starters

LE J.J. Milan, Sr.
NT Matt Hines, Jr.
RE Erics Clark, Jr.
OLB Jeremy Engstrom. Jr.
ILB Joshua Mauga, So.
ILB Jason DeMars, Sr.
OLB Ezra Butler, Jr.
SS Uche Anyanwu, So.
FS Nick Hawthrone, Sr.
CB Joe Garcia, Sr.
CB De'Angelo Wilson, So.

Senior end J.J. Milan earned a redshirt year in 2006 after breaking his foot early last fall. Milan returned to the lineup last week against Fresno State but did not register a tackle. Junior Erics Clark will line up opposite Milan at the other end spot. The nose tackle in the Wolfpack 3-4 defense is Matt Hines. The junior combined with Clark for 29 tackles last season. JC transfer Mundrae Clifton will come off the bench.

Outside linebacker Ezra Butler has popped up on a few pre-season lists All-WAC teams. The junior had just under 60 tackles and 5.5 sacks last year. He and Joshua Mauga finished with eight stops against Fresno State, tops on the team for the game. Both will also blitz to get into the backfield. Senior Jason DeMars and junior Jeremy Engstrom are the other starting linebackers. The two had a combined 51 tackles in '05. Senior Scott Garrison is the most experienced backup with 35 stops last season. Sophomore Kevin Porter is also back from an injury that sidelined him a year ago.

Anchoring the secondary is cornerback Joe Garcia. The senior is on the Nagurski watch list and appears to be headed for the next level. His four interceptions from a year ago paced the team. Sophomore De'Angelo Wilson starts at the other corner spot and had a pair of interceptions as a freshman last year. Free safety Nick Hawthrone, a senior, is also a talented cover man. The experience in the Wolfpack secondary may allow underclassmen Uche Anyanwu to progress at a normal rate.

SPECIAL TEAMS

K Brett Jaekle, So.
P Thomas Barcia, So.
KR Robert Hubbard, Sr.
PR Joe Garcia, Sr.

Brett Jaekle hasn't attempted a field goal yet this season. The sophomore was 12 of 15 on field goal attempts last season. Another sophomore, Thomas Barcia, handles the punting duties. Barcia had five punts last week, averaging 36.8 yards on each. His longest went for 42 yards.

Sun Devil Source Top Stories