Nacua Ready to Rumble with Nevada

Nick Howell mentioned that even with the return of Craig Bills the defensive coaching staff would still find a way to get Kai Nacua reps within the defense. He was thrown into the fire against UCF, where he performed very well, and caught the attention of Coach Howell. Now the sophomore safety will face Nevada where he will have the task of taking on an old foe.

When the Cougar defensive backfield lines up to take on the Wolf Pack of Nevada, they’ll have their sights set on 6-5, 220-pound receiver Hassan Henderson. Henderson is one of the primary weapons within the Nevada offense, and for sophomore safety Kai Nacua he remembers him well from the old high school days.

“What we’ve seen on film is number 12 and he’s a big dude,” said Nacua. “I played with him in high school and he’s really good. I think if our corners can really cover him, or the safeties because it doesn’t matter, while rushing the quarterback to make him think fast I think we can handle it.

“He played at Las Vegas High School and I played against him. He was a quarterback at the time and I played safety on our defense. He’s a big dude so it makes sense that he’s a wide receiver.”

Another ‘big dude’ the Cougar defense will see, although not as big as BYU quarterback Taysom Hill, is 6-2, 215-pound dual-threat quarterback Cody Fajardo. The Cougars will try and bottle up Fajardo while attempting to pressure him in passing situations.

“Their quarterback is also a big dude and he’s also pretty good,” said Nacua. “If we can just get a rush on their quarterback and put pressure on him that will disrupt the passing game more. I think we need to really get pressure on him but not allow him to break containment.”

To better defend against the pass, Coach Howell has been spending a little more time in skeleton and cover drills helping his defensive secondary better locate the ball while covering receivers down field. Far too often the Cougar secondary has lost track of receivers while covering down field.

“I would say more of just like playing the ball in the air,” said Nacua. “What we’re seeing is our defensive backs are on the receivers and then they’re looking for the ball but then they lose the receiver. I think we can cover well but we just need to stay on the receivers while trying to find that ball to make a play on it.

“He’s been working on us really hard. He’s been hounding us saying things like, ‘Find the ball in the air and make a play on it.’ We’ve been doing a lot better in that way, and I think we’re going to do a lot better now.”

Cougar Cam: Kai Nacua

Kai Nacua talks about his performance during the UCF game and his personal preparation for his first ever start. He also talks about taking snaps at the quarterback position, a position he played in high school. He talks about facing Nevada this week and what the defense needs to do to pull out a victory.

Kai Nacua Video

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