Nevada's strength will be its defensive front, where five of seven starters return. The Wolf Pack will have to find a workable solution at quarterback and a functioning offensive line to make a run at a Mountain West title.
Wiz correspondent Greg Laughlin spent Saturday night in our favorite city, Las Vegas, site of the Fremont Cannon battle between Nevada and host Nevada Las Vegas. It was the last game for Rebels coach Bobby Hauck. His team faded late and lost, 49-27.
Nevada Las Vegas now begins its search for Hauck's replacement, with reports indicating that Bishop Gorman High's Tony Sanchez being at the top of the list. Sanchez's candidacy is said to be backed by Lorenzo Fertitta, CEO of Ultimate Fighting Championship and vice chairman of Station Casinos. Fertitta reportedly would commit as much as $30 million to the program if Sanchez is hired.
Nevada is coming off a forgettable 4-8 season that saw the team miss out on the postseason for the first time since 2004. How the Wolf Pack respond in Brian Polian's second season as coach is up for debate. Polian took over for the legendary Chris Ault, who is credited as the creator of the "Pistol" offense. The early portion of the schedule is challenging, with games against Washington State, at Arizona and Boise State in the first five weeks. The annunal showdown with rival Nevada Las Vegas is Nov. 29.
One can't look ahead to Nevada's season without looking back. Chris Ault, the legendary coach of the Wolf Pack and member of the College Football Hall of Fame, stepped down at the end of last season. Ault popularized the Pistol offense, a hybrid of the shotgun and single-back formations. Colin Kaepernick thrived in the offense, becoming the only quarterback in Division I-A history to have passed for more than 10,000 yards and run for more than 4,000.
Brian Polian is the new coach. Polian, the son of former NFL executive Bill Polian, has been a career assistant to this point, with stops at Michigan State, Buffalo, Baylor, Central Florida, Notre Dame, Stanford and Texas A&M.
What a difference a year makes. Entering the 2010 season, Nevada coach Chris Ault was on the hot seat after a disappointing 8-5 season. Today, the architect of the Pistol offense is King of Reno after the Wolf Pack finished 13-1, including a memorable victory over Boise State.
Thanks to Aaron. Click the poster for an enlarged view.