The Wolf of Virginia Street, Week 24

What's National Signing Day all about, really? Plus basketball gets dealt a setback.

The Bullet Points

  • Just once, for the sake of variety, I’d like to see a coach express resignation or disappointment on signing day. Instead of talking up their new players with terms like “upside,” “great motor” or “diamond in the rough,” I want to hear someone say “Yeah, we didn’t get most of the guys we went after. I doubt there’s even a CFL second-stringer among them.” Not because I particularly want to see anyone get in trouble, or because I doubt the importance of coach-speak on these occasions. Just a little variety for variety’s sake.

  • Nevada football signed twenty-three new players on Wednesday, and the only thing you can say about them with absolute certainty right now is…they play football. And there are twenty-three of them. Hot takes from the Wolf of Virginia Street! It’s that time of year where football fans sing the praises of recruiting services who talk up their players while conveniently forgetting all those other times they totally whiffed. In the words of “Smooth” Jimmy Apollo: “When you’re right 52% of the time, you’re wrong 48% of the time.” Like most things in the stratified world of college football, the recruits signed by power programs get a greater amount of in-depth attention than those who sign with us non-power peasants. Unless you’re Alabama or some other robber baron program, you could easily use Mad Libs to fill out how a mid-major recruiting class looks. This can end up being a pleasant surprise, as Chris Murray very capably pointed out in his analysis of many of Nevada’s recruiting classes in Ault’s final tenure. But for every Brandon Marshall or Duke Williams, there’s a John Romero or a Chris Metcalf — highly touted players who don’t pan out for any one out of a plethora of reasons. Be happy for the players who signed here, as there are some indisputably good people among them, regardless of how well they may play football. But hold off heaping too much praise on to them too soon. That can hopefully be reserved for several years down the road after some conference titles and bowl wins.

  • For a few games in their recent stretch of improved play, the Wolf Pack basketball team got away with shooting poorly from the field at the end of games. In wins against UNLV and Utah State, their free throw shooting carried the day when they went cold from the field. But when coupled with already being down two players, getting dominated on the offensive glass and not defending the perimeter well enough, that particular bit of luck ran out at Colorado State on Saturday. Events elsewhere in the Mountain West added to that frustration, with both Fresno State and Boise State falling to bottom-tier teams, and an opportunity for Nevada to make up ground lost. Even next week’s tilt with Air Force is no longer a gimme, with the Falcons having snapped their eight-game losing streak with two convincing wins in a row. Make like Sam Jackson and hold on to yer butts.

The Beer

Two Bald Guys Rye Pale Ale (Reno, Nevada) ~ Rye has become an increasingly common ingredient in American beers over the last twenty or so years after being used in Europe for centuries. It lends a light spice that is crisp and dry on the palate, making it a good compliment to the hoppy bitterness of an IPA or pale ale. Enter Reno craft beer newcomers Two Bald Guys, whose two current offerings (they also make a west coast IPA) I had to try on a count of them being local and bald just like yours truly. Their rye poured a clear copper with a moderate head, smelling faintly of grapefruit, roasted malt and that aforementioned rye spice. The taste included all of the above, as well as low-medium hoppiness and a delicate note of caramel, then finished pleasingly crisp. If you like a sipping beer with a very modest bite, this one fits the bill. If you’re partial to something more aggressively hopped, you might find it a little lacking. In any case, it passes the “I’d have another one” test. I give it three and a half tipsy Wolfies out of five.

All fan mail (burning or otherwise) can be sent to:
Andrew Maurins
c/o North RV Lot
Campus of THE University of Nevada
Reno, NV 89557

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