UW-Nevada Q&A swap

Robert Gagliardi, WyoSports’ senior editor, did a question-and-answer session with Chris Murray, who covers Nevada for the Reno Gazette-Journal.

The first set are questions Gagliardi asked Murray. The second are questions from Murray.

Look for Q&As with writers who cover the opponents of the University of Wyoming every Friday.

Nevada’s pistol offense has been one of the best in the nation. What has made it so effective so far this season and what, if anything, have teams been able to do to slow it down at times?

The scheme is so unique that teams facing it for the first time struggle to stop it. I think that’s a big advantage for Nevada in its first swing through the Mountain West. The biggest issue teams have is the misdirection. The Pistol can hit a defense in a number of areas and with the pre-snap motion and read-option element. That creates defensive hesitation, and when you create that, you have a major advantage. Throw talented players into the scheme, like quarterback Cody Fajardo, running back Stefphon Jefferson, receiver Brandon Wimberly and tight end Zach Sudfeld, and it’s a nightmare for the opposition. Making it tougher to stop is Fajardo’s ability to throw, which Colin Kaepernick often struggled with. The only times Nevada has been slowed down is when it has turned the ball over or had too many penalties. Nevada is going to move the ball, but defenses have to be sturdy in the red zone and forced field goals rather than touchdowns.

Continue reading

More from MW football media day

Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson gave his state of the conference address Wednesday here in Las Vegas as the league’s football media day functions concluded.

A few quick highlights:

–The agreement or partnership with Conference USA is on hiatus and pretty much dead.

–There are no immediate plans to expand past its current 10-football playing members, and it doesn’t sound like it will add in any other sports.

–An announcement on more local and regional TV coverage for football will be soon.

For more on that, and what I think the future of the conference holds see my column in Thursday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang, and on WyoSports.net.

Continue reading

Ranking the MW football coaches

The Sporting News recently ranked the 10 Mountain West football coaches. Here’s the link to the rankings:


What do you think?

If it were me I would have the same top four, although I would have swapped Air Force’s Troy Calhoun and Nevada’s Chris Ault at 2 and 3. But I see why Ault was second. He’s been there a long time and won a lot of games. But Calhoun has done nothing but win

I think Wyoming’s Dave Christensen is on the rise, and will continue to be if he consistently produces winning seasons and bowl games.

No. 5 is a little high for Colorado State’s Jim McElwain simply because he’s not been a head coach before. Not saying he’s a bad coach, but it’s different being the head man and CSU in not Alabama. I would have bumped San Diego State’s Rocky Long to No. 5 and put McElwain at No. 6, or even put New Mexico’s Bob Davie at No. 6 or No. 7.

Hawaii’s Norm Chow has been around for a long time, but like McElwain, has never been a head coach. No. 7 may be a bit high for him right now.

I also think Fresno State’s Tim DeRuyter could move up the list fast. Another guy who is a head coach for the first time, but he knows his stuff and has been in the MW before with Air Force. If Frenso State stays healthy and adapts to his staff’s new systems, watch out for the Bulldogs.

Fun topic to talk about. Would love to hear what you think.

MW football news and notes

The Mountain West held a teleconference with its 10 football coaches Tuesday to talk about spring football and the upcoming season. For my story on that, see Wednesday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang.

Here are a few things that didn’t make my story:

–Air Force returned this week from a trip to the White House to receive the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy. It’s the second straight year and trip for the Falcons.

–Nevada coach Chris Ault enters his 27th year at the school, and has always called the plays and coached the quarterbacks. But this year he brought in former Nick Rolovich to coach the quarterbacks an impliment more of a run-and-shoot aspect to the Wolf Pack’s Pistol offense. Ault said one Rolovich, who was a quarterback at Hawaii, gets comfortable calling plays, he will hand that duty off to him.

Continue reading