by Thomas Jensen on Saturday, September 2nd, 2006
The Nevada Wolf Pack picked up nine wins and a piece of the Western Athletic Conference Championship last season, winning its first bowl game since 1996. But head coach Chris Ault and his coaching staff won't be resting on their laurels. They still have some hard work ahead of them if they want to remain a contender in the WAC, but the Pack have the players to be just that in 2006.
Quarterback Jeff Rowe, a senior, will lead the "Pistol offense" established by head coach Chris Ault. Jeff Rowe threw for 2,925 yards with 21 touchdowns and only 10 interceptions last season, and could beat those numbers. With a more experienced offensive lineopening holes for him, running back Robert Hubbard should at last match last season's 741 yards and 11 touchdowns.
Wide receiver Caleb Spencer leads the wide receivers and also could beat his 2005 stats of 67 receptions. Last season, the Pack averaged 34 points per game. Though many players have graduated, they still have a formidable attack that should get better with time.
On defense, the Nevada Wolf Pack have seven starters back for the 2006 college football season. The defense features an experienced and talented front seven but the secondary could be a concern. However, strong play upfront should enable Nevada to lower the 32 points per game it allowed last year. Special Teams has been an Achilles Heal for years; perhaps the coaches have come up with a solution in the off-season.
The Wolf Pack surprised last season but won't have that luxury this season. But they have talent, both on offense and defense, and the coaching and could score a WAC Championship repeat. They'll get a 'barometer game' early as they open the 2006 campaign with a big road game in Fresno State.