Nevada Football: Key Players For The Wolf Pack In 2020

Nevada Football: Key Players For The Wolf Pack In 2020

Mountain West Football

Nevada Football: Key Players For The Wolf Pack In 2020

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Nevada Football: Key Players For The Wolf Pack In 2020

Here are three key plays for both offense and defense for the Nevada Wolf Pack heading into the 2020 season.

Nevada Football: Key Players For The Wolf Pack In 2020

With the 2020 season  for the Nevada Wolf Pack scheduled to start in a little more than a month (maybe it starts on time but at this point, who knows.), I am going to focus on some key players on offense and defense to keep an eye on for the Wolf Pack in the upcoming season that may happen.

Key players for the Nevada Offense

Carson Strong, Quarterback

In 2019, Strong started ten games and while he had an up-and-down season, he did play well towards the end of the season as he threw eight touchdowns and only one interception.  For the season, Strong completed 63 percent of his passes for 2,335 yards and 11 touchdowns. 

With Strong being the clear cut starter heading into the 2020 season, he must continue his stellar play from late last season in order for the Wolf Pack to go bowling for the third straight season and possibly contend for a Mountain West championship.

Elijah Cooks, Wide Receiver

Cooks had break out season in 2019 for the Wolf Pack. The wide receiver from Atascadero, California caught 76 passes for 926 yards and scored eight touchdowns last season. Cooks and his 76 catches placed him sixth in the Mountain West conference in receptions in 2019. His eight touchdown passes placed him tied for fourth in the Mountain West in touchdowns in 2019

Cooks was named to the preseason watch list for the Biletnikoff Award given to the nation’s top wide receiver. Cooks clearly has the talent to be one of the best wide receivers in the Mountain West and possibly in the nation in 2020. The Wolf Pack will need Cooks to be at his best if Nevada wants to be in the Mountain West title hunt.

Toa Taua, Running Back

Taua had an excellent debut in 2018 as he ran for 872 yards and scored six rushing touchdowns. Taua’s impressive debut won him Mountain West Freshman of the year in 2018.

In 2019 however,Taua struggled in his sophomore season in Reno. Despite rushing for 807 yards and six touchdowns, his average yards per carry dropped from 4.9 to 4.1. One of the main reasons for Taua’s drop in his yards per carry was the struggles of the Wolf Pack offensive line and inconsistent quarterback play. 

This season the Wolf Pack offensive line (nicknamed “ The Union”) returns five starters from last year’s unit. And also, the quarterback play for Nevada is solidified as Carson Strong is the starter. With the offensive line and quarterback back for the 2020 season, Taua needs to have a bounce back season to make the Wolf Pack offense a formidable unit in the Mountain West.

Key players for the Nevada Defense

Dom Peterson, Defensive End

In 2019, Peterson had a fantastic season as a sophomore for Nevada. The defensive end from Harbor City, California lead the Wolf Pack with 15 tackles for loss and nine sacks. Those numbers placed Peterson second in the Mountain West in both the tackles for loss and sacks categories in 2019.

Because of Peterson’s outstanding play for Nevada, he was named first team All-Mountain West as a defensive end for 2019. Peterson is back alongside fellow defensive ends Sam Hammond and Chris Green to make up a defensive line that could be one of the best in the Mountain West conference. And the driving force behind the Wolf Pack’s tough defensive line in 2020 is Dom Peterson.

 

Lawson Hall, Linebacker

Heading into the 2020 season, the Wolf Pack linebacker unit is lacking experience as four of the top six linebackers from 2019 are gone. One of the two linebackers that are projected starters  for the 2020 season is Lawson Hall.

In 2019, Hall recorded 56 tackles and recorded 1.5 sacks while playing in 13 games for Nevada at linebacker. Hall is now leading the linebacker unit for Nevada heading into his junior season. With a lack of experienced depth at the linebacker position, it is up to Hall to be the leader of that unit and turn in a stellar season in 2020.

 

Tyson Williams, Safety

The Wolf Pack secondary had a rough season in 2019 as they gave up 31 passing touchdowns in 2019 which placed them next to last in the Mountain West.

The secondary struggled due to Nevada playing a lot of freshmen and sophomores in 2019. Tyson Williams, one of those sophomores who is now a junior, was one of the bright spots in that unit last season. Williams recorded 85 tackles in 2019 which was tops on the team and in a game against Purdue last season, Williams recorded 12 tackles.

Williams, along with senior Austin Arnold, are the leaders of a Wolf Pack secondary looking to bounce back from a difficult season in 2019. The Nevada defense is looking to improve their pass defense in order to contend for a championship in 2020. In order for that to happen, the Wolf Pack secondary with Tyson Williams must lead the way in improving that part of the defense.

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