Nevada Football: Three Questions For Spring Practice

Nevada Football: Three Questions For Spring Practice

Mountain West Football

Nevada Football: Three Questions For Spring Practice

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Nevada Football: Three Questions For Spring Practice


The Wolf Pack will take their first steps into the Ken Wilson era with plenty of intrigue and questions to address.


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A new chapter begins in Reno.

Starting over is never easy, especially when an old coaching regime takes almost everything and everyone that isn’t nailed down with them, but after a turbulent start to the off-season, the Nevada Wolf Pack have reason to believe they won’t have to keep their fans in the pit of despair for long.

Compared to pretty much every other team in the conference, however, Ken Wilson’s Wolf Pack may have a longer to-do list than anyone else this spring.

How much of a leg up can Nate Cox give himself in the race to be QB1?

Cox’s performance at the Quick Lane Bowl in December wasn’t great, but a lot of that lackluster morning can be attributed to the Wolf Pack’s personnel losses in the days leading up to that game. Now that the dust has settled, the starting gig seems to be his to lose for right now since Oklahoma State transfer Shane Illingworth won’t join the team until after spring practice is in the books, as Nevada Sports Net’s Chris Murray previously noted.

Even without Illingworth, however, Cox could get pushed. Both Jake Barlage and Jonah Chong have been in the program for two years and Barlage, in particular, was a standout who led California’s Riverside City College to a state title in 2019 before coming to Reno.

Who will help Dom Peterson anchor the defensive line now?

Nevada’s disruptive big man is back for one last round while the rest of unit undergoes a hard reset. Zak Mahannah, Kam Toomer and Sam Hammond are all gone, so the competition for roles will be wide open.

Thankfully, the Wolf Pack aren’t without experienced options who could be ready for larger roles. Senior defensive tackle Christopher Love has been a contributor over the past two seasons (three sacks, 4.5 tackles for loss) while defensive end Breylon Garcia (15 games between 2019 and 2021) was convinced to stay at Nevada after a brief dalliance with the transfer portal. It may come together right away, but the next men up have plenty of production to replace.

What kind of workload will Toa Taua and Devonte Lee have now?

The running game seemed an afterthought in Jay Norvell’s Air Raid offense at times, but with Carson Strong under center you couldn’t really blame emphasizing the pass. Now, though? Toa Taua and Devonte Lee could see much more thrust onto their plates after the Wolf Pack ran the ball on early downs just a third of the time in 2021 and must replace a ton of players from last year’s aerial attack.

How much more will Derek Sage’s offense run the ball, though? That remains to be seen. Will the Wolf Pack make an effort to find a new Avery Morrow? Dylan Overstreet made a cameo appearance against New Mexico State last season and Wesley Kommer has played sparingly across the last two seasons, but Nevada doesn’t lack for options here.

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