NEVADA WOLFPACK FOOTBALL SEASON PREVIEW:
Heading into head coach Chris Ault's 28th season at the helm, the University of Nevada Wolfpack will make the transition from the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) to a heightened level of competition in the Mountain West Conference (MWC) in 2012. Although the Wolfpack lost several players before the 2011 season, they still managed to put together a winning season at 7-6 and 5-2 in the conference. With signature wins over Fresno State and Hawaii, as well as a heroic performance in the Hawaii Bowl against Southern Miss, which ultimately ended in a loss, the Wolfpack have high hopes for the 2012 season and want to show that they are a force to be reckoned with in their new conference.
Perhaps the most electrifying player on the field during 2011 was quarterback Cody Fajardo, who gained nearly 800 yards on the ground, ran for 11 touchdowns and threw for six more. The Wolfpack are expected to use a running back-by-committee approach and will split carries between sophomore Stefphon Jefferson and senior Nick Hale. At receiver, Fajardo will have plenty of targets to throw to, including returning starter Aaron Bradley and upperclassmen like Joe Huber and Brandon Wimberly. Finally, the offensive line will see a new starter at center with Matt Galas, but the rest of the unit will return, which should bode well for the continuity of the offense.
On defense, the Wolfpack have one of the most experienced secondaries and linebacking corps in all of college football. Jeremiah Green, Albert Rosette and DeAndre Boughton form a powerful trio in the middle, while underrated performers like Thaddeus Brown, Marlon Johnson and Duke Williams make up a talented group of defensive backs. The one question mark for the Wolfpack heading into 2012 is their defensive line - while the incoming starters have great size for their positions, it remains to be seen whether their lack of experience will be a problem against high-flying MWC offenses.
Spirits are high for the 2012 Nevada Wolfpack team, and they have a few chances to impress voters in the national rankings during the season's first few weeks. With matchups against the California Golden Bears and the USF Bulls in the first two weeks of the season, the Wolfpack have an early chance to catapult themselves into BCS contention. Of course, all eyes will be on Nevada during the last game of the season, when they face off against their old WAC rival, Boise State, in what is expected to be one of the best games of the year.
NEVADA WOLFPACK TEAM FACTS:
Stadium: Mackay Stadium
Conference:Mountain West Conference
Rivals: Boise State Broncos, UNLV Rebels ( The Battle for Nevada)
Notable Bowl Games:
- 2007: New Mexico Bowl Tickets - Nevada Wolfpack vs New Mexico Lobos