#72 Nevada Football 2015 Preview

Nevada Wolf Pack

Overall Rank: #72
#5 Mountain West

Nevada Team Page#72 Nevada Football 2015 PreviewBuy Nevada Football Tickets

Nevada is moving in the right direction under Coach Brian Polian. After going 4-8 in 2013, Coach Polian led the Wolf Pack to a 7-6 campaign and a trip to the New Orleans Bowl. That is a good building block for the program, but the expectations are higher than that at Nevada. For now though, questions at quarterback will likely keep Nevada from seriously competing for a Mountain West title.

2014 Record: 7-6, 4-4
2014 Bowl: New Orleans Bowl vs. Louisiana (L 3-16)
Coach: Brian Polian (11-14 at Nevada, 11-14 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Nick Rolovich
Defensive Coordinator: Scott Boone, Bill Teerlinck

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Don Jackson, RB, 957 yards
Passing: None
Receiving: Jerico Richardson, WR, 655 yards
Tackles: Jordan Dobrich, LB, 85
Sacks: Ian Seau, DE, 8.5
Interceptions: Duran Workman, DB, 3

Other Key Returnees: RB James Butler, WR Hasaan Henderson, TE Jarred Gipson, K Brent Zuzo, P Alex Boy, LB Matthew Lyons, DE Lenny Jones, DT Rykeem Yates

Key Losses: QB Cody Fajardo, WR Richy Turner, OL Matt Galas, LB Jonathan McNeal, DB Nigel Haikins, DE Brock Hekking, DB Charles Garrett

The Wolf Pack will have a very disruptive defense thanks to the return of five starters in the front seven. Senior end Ian Seau tallied 8.5 sacks last season and Lenny Jones is a workhorse on the other end of the line. Those two will give opposing quarterbacks plenty to worry about. Senior defensive tackle Rykeem Yates is a superb run stuffer. There is plenty of talent at linebacker with Jordan Dobrich, Faigofie Faaituala, Matthew Lyons and Bryan Lane. Dobrich will man the middle linebacker spot after tallying 85 tackles in 2014. The amount of pressure the front seven should get on the quarterback will help usher in a very inexperienced secondary. The most experienced option is sophomore Kendall Johnson, who is moving to safety after playing corner as a freshman. Junior Randy Uzoma likely earned a starting corner spot in the spring, but the other starters and some of the depth could come from freshmen.

The loss of quarterback Cody Fajardo is huge. He threw for 2,498 yards and rushed for 1,046 more. In total he accounted for 31 touchdowns. Tyler Stewart has been the backup to Fajardo, but he did not throw a pass last season. The problem with Stewart is that he is not a running quarterback. The zone read option is a huge part of the Pistol offense that Coach Polian runs and not having a running quarterback is an issue. Sophomore Dante Myers and freshman Hunter Fralick are the more mobile options under center. Receiver Jerico Richardson returns after catching 56 passes for 655 yards and three touchdowns, as does Hasaan Henderson, who missed part of last season with an injury. Those two are solid options, but it remains to be seen if an already inconsistent passing game can be a threat without Fajardo.

The Bottom Line:
Meanwhile, the offense will rely on running backs Don Jackson and James Butler. Together, the duo rushed for 1,592 yards and 12 touchdowns. However, the ground attack does have questions to answer on the line that returns just two starters. As long as the offense can get something going, the defense will be good enough to at least get the Wolf Pack back to a bowl game.

Projected Bowl: Armed Forces Bowl

2014 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 205.5 (36th in nation, 5th in conference)
Passing Offense: 192.2 (96, 9)
Total Offense: 397.6 (68, 6)
Scoring Offense: 29.2 (61, 4)
Rushing Defense: 179.5 (79, 6)
Pass Defense: 267.6 (109, 12)
Total Defense: 447.1 (100, 9)
Scoring Defense: 27.2 (68, 7)
Turnover Margin: 0.85 (11, 1)
Sacks: 2.23 (55, 4)
Sacks Allowed: 1.54 (28, 3)


See All College Sports Madness Top 104 Football Previews