Nevada Football: Wolf Pack Quarterback Competition Heating Up
The Nevada Wolf Pack began Spring practice this week and with it, a quarterback competition has started as well.
Nevada Opens Spring Camp With A QB Competition In Their Midst
The Nevada Wolf Pack football team opened up spring football camp this week with one pressing question: Who will replace the departed Ty Gangi at quarterback for Nevada?
Third year head coach Jay Norvell must replace a quarterback in Gangi that racked up a career total of 7,378 passing yards and 57 touchdowns and who started in 26 of Nevada’s last 30 games.
With that type of production no longer there for the Wolf Pack, Coach Norvell faces the difficult task of replacing a talented player like Ty Gangi. But it sounds like Coach Norvell is pretty high on the quarterbacks looking to replace Gangi.
“I think we have more talent at QB than we’ve had and we have an opportunity to play a lot better at that position, so we’re excited about that”, Norvell said after Tuesday’s practice.
Coach Norvell is pretty confident in his stable of quarterbacks for Nevada despite the fact that the returning quarterbacks have very little FBS experience. Senior Cristian Solano is the only quarterback on Nevada’s roster with FBS experience and that experience came last season when Nevada played Fresno State in Reno.
Solano started in that game against Fresno State filling in for the injured Ty Gangi. In that game, Solano completed only 22 of 43 passes for only 195 yards passing and he threw three interceptions in a 21-3 loss to the Bulldogs. While only passing for 195 yards, Solano did utilize his legs as he ran for 71 yards on 23 attempts.
Along with Solano, the quarterbacks looking to be named the starter are junior Malik Henry and freshman quarterbacks Carson Strong, Austin Kirksey and Hamish McClure who is a transfer from Sacramento State. Junior quarterback Malik Henry was a top prospect coming out of high school who began his college career at Florida State.
However, he was suspended briefly in August 2016 for violating team rules and did not appear in a game before transferring in December 2016. Henry ended up at Independence Community College in Kansas and was featured on the Netflix show “Last Chance U”. In that documentary, Henry was seen getting into arguments with the coaches and not following the game plan of the head coach at Independence Community College, Jason Brown.
Junior quarterback Griffin Dahn was in the mix to challenge for the starting job but news broke per Chris Murray of Nevada Sports Net that Dahn enter his name in the NCAA transfer portal and will leave the program. Dahn did confirm via his Twitter account that he does plan on transferring out of Nevada leaving the race for the quarterback starting job to four quarterbacks.
In the search for a new starting quarterback for Nevada, Wolf Pack offensive coordinator Matt Mumme is looking a key characteristic from this stable of quarterbacks. “ They’ve got to be smart”, Mumme said this week, “We always look at their grades and see how they do in the classroom and make sure they understand that’s a priority for us.”
I expect the competition to be the starting quarterback for Nevada will not be decided during spring practices. This competition could go very well into the summer and fall and a starter may not be announced until the season opener. Nevada was in a similar situation two years ago when Coach Norvell did not name the starting quarterback until the day before the opener of that season.
With Griffin Dahn now moving on from Nevada, it will be interesting to see throughout the spring just who out of the remaining quarterbacks will emerge as the favorite to be the starter.