#76 Nevada Football 2013 Preview

Nevada Wolf Pack

Overall Rank: #76
#7 Mountain West

Nevada Team PageNevada College Football 2013 PreviewBuy Nevada Football Tickets

It is the end of an era for Nevada. Coach Chris Ault stepped down after last season and the reigns have now been turned over to Brian Polian. But much of what Coach Ault brought to Nevada over the years will remain the same; most notably the pistol offense. And with much of the offense returning, this very well could be a team that once again ranks in the top ten in the country in total offense.

2012 Record: (7-6, 4-4)
2012 Bowl: New Mexico Bowl vs. Arizona (L 48-49)
Coach: Brian Polian (0-0 at Nevada, 0-0 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Nick Rolovich
Defensive Coordinator: Scottie Hazelton

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Cody Fajardo, QB, 1,121 yards
Passing: Cody Fajardo, QB, 2,786 yards
Receiving: Brandon Wimberly, WR, 845 yards
Tackles: Brock Hekking, DE, 75
Sacks: Brock Hekking, DE, 8.0
Interceptions: Charles Garrett, S, 1: Bryson Keeton, S, 1

Other Key Returnees: WR Aaron Bradley, WR Richy Turner, TE Kolby Arendsa, OT Joel Bitonio, DL Jordan Hanson, DL Jack Reynoso, DL Lenny Jones

Key Losses: RB Stephon Jefferson, S Duke Williams, CB Khalid Wooten, LB Albert Rosette, WR Zach Sudfeld, LB DeAndre Boughton, LB Jeremiah Green, LB Dray Bell

Quarterback Cody Fajardo is a dynamic playmaker with his arm and his legs. Fajardo threw for 2,786 yards and 20 touchdowns as a sophomore in 2012 and added 1,121 yards and a dozen more trips to the end zone on the ground. Fajardo is one of the more efficient passers in the Mountain West, completing 67 percent of his attempts. Between his ability to pick up a few yards with his legs and keep the chains moving through the air, it can be extremely difficult to stop the Wolf Pack from marching down the field. The return of receivers Brandon Wimberly, Richy Turner and Aaron Bradley does give Nevada and Fajardo plenty of options through the air. In fact, Coach Polian may want to throw a bit more than usual. However, Nevada is still a run first team. They just may not have as much success on the ground without Stefphon Jefferson. Jefferson tallied 1,883 rushing yards and 24 touchdowns before splitting for the NFL early. Junior college transfer Don Jackson, a 5-10 sophomore, is expected to step into the starting role. This is a program that continually ranks in the top ten nationally in rushing offense, so do not be shocked if Jackson turns into a very productive back very soon.

Nevada rarely has a good defense, but last year was pretty bad on all accounts. Coach Polian will make more changes here than he will on the other side of the ball and that may be a good thing…at least in the long run. For now, the few experienced players left will have to learn a new scheme. The front line does return all four starters, most notably end Brock Hekking who compiled 8.0 sacks and 75 total tackles as a sophomore. Lenny Jones will start at the other end spot and Jordan Hanson and Jack Reynoso will man the middle. The experienced depth on the line will be a huge plus for Nevada. Hekking and Jones can get consistent pressure in the backfield all by themselves. That is what they did last year. This time around they might get a bit more help if the new staff is willing to commit more pass rushers on occasion. The back seven lost some quality players. Safety Duke Williams and corner Khalid Wooten brought big plays to the secondary and linebacker Albert Rosette totaled an impressive 135 tackles during his senior season. In fact, the only starter returning to defense outside of the line is strong safety Charles Garrett. Garrett is very strong in pass defense and his presence will help ease corners Evans Favors and Markus Smith into the starting lineup, but the bad defense of 2012 will likely be even worse in 2013.

The Bottom Line:
The Wolf Pack has gone to eight straight bowls, but that little streak appears to be in jeopardy. Nevada won just one of their last five games last season and for the first time in a long time, Coach Ault is not on the sidelines. The defense has some major, major holes to fill and a new scheme to implement. None of that bodes well for nine straight bowl appearances.

Projected Bowl: None

2012 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 271.00 (7th in nation, 3rd in conference)
Passing Offense: 243.85 (52, 3)
Total Offense: 514.85 (8, 1)
Scoring Offense: 37.85 (18, 2)
Rushing Defense: 211.85 (110, 9)
Pass Defense: 230.62 (59, 6)
Total Defense: 442.46 (95, 7)
Scoring Defense: 33.77 (99, 9)
Turnover Margin: -0.31 (80, 6)
Sacks: 1.62 (85, 6)
Sacks Allowed: 1.38 (28, 4)


See All College Sports Madness Top 104 Football Previews