WSU in Week 2: Early Air Raid exam in Reno

MAYBE YOU'VE ALREADY placed a check mark next to Washington State's game at Nevada in Week 2. Maybe you think there's little chance Nevada's defense is capable of providing a stern test against the Air Raid. You might want to think again.

Nevada brings nearly everyone back on defense and it's a veteran-laden unit. The deepest team units are both found on defense, with the linebackers and d-line. The defensive line alone has a combined 84 starts and the projected two-deep on defense holds just seven underclassmen.

Could Connor Halliday and the Cougar offense run roughshod over Nevada anyway? Of course.

The WSU offense in 2014 is shaping up to be a potential nightmare for anyone. But the Wazzu offense is going to need to bring their big boy pants to Reno. They can't just "show up" and expect to coast their way to a win. The front seven of Nevada carries with them some salt.

The Wolfpack offense is a completely different story, and it starts up front.

Two of the projected five o-line starters are walk ons and there are big depth issues here, as in Nevada doesn't have any.

As veteran as Nevada is on D, they are equally young on the other side of the ball. Of the 22 offensive players in the projected two deep, 13 are underclassmen.

There is no QB controversy, though, senior QB Cody Fajardo is entrenched as the starter. He's a dual threat type who has 9,597 career yards (7,161 passing, 2,436 running) and 70 TDs in career (31 rushing, 39 passing.)

But given how the o-line looked this spring, he's going to need those legs to stay out of harm's way in 2014.

In addition to the o-line, Nevada head man Brian Polian needs more out of his receiving unit and the safeties. Running back Kendall Brock, a converted wideout, was adequate last year (812 yards) and should be further along this season.

But if the o-line can't open enough holes, he's not one of those very few backs who can make a ton of yards on his own. Brock, along with a good number of his teammates this spring, missed time to injury.

Washington State has a favorable non-conference schedule in 2014 but they'll be playing their first road game of the season in Week 2. Letting a Nevada team keyed by its defense hang around wouldn't be the best way to fly.

Nevada runs a multiple 4-3 defense with the safeties up high. They feature a good deal of Tampa-2 but with a pair of new co-defensive coordinators in the fold, they'll be more multiple and are expected to show just as many one-high safety looks. They'll pick and choose their spots for man-coverage and they are also expected to blitz more than last season.

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