By Matt Manuri
Under new offensive coordinator Nick Rolovich (Hawaii), the Nevada Wolfpack will be focused on using their high tempo Pistol Formation Offense to unravel the South Florida Bull’s Defense Saturday in Reno. Here are some notes & keys for the Bulls to successfully navigate their first road test of 2012:
Special Teams was markedly improved in Game 1 by Terrance ‘T-Rex’ Mitchell’s explosive return game. Special teams aided the Offense’s inability to truly dominate time of possession. The speedster, limited in 2011 by a concussion, was the only D-I player to dash for 60+ return yards & 70+ receiving yards in week one. Mitchell provides the explosive spark the Bull’s were missing last year. Kayvon Webster also saw action in the return game last week.
Controlling the time of possession will be critical in keeping the Wolfpack Offense on the sideline. Wolfpack QB Cody Fajardo aired it out for 1,707 yards with 6 TDs (69% comp.) & 694 yards on the ground for 11 TDs as a Redshirt Freshman. Cory ‘Pork Chop’ Grissom will need to provide relentless pressure on the Wolfpack’s undersized Center Matt Galas (6’1 275 pounds) to exploit the mismatch & get after Fajardo. Fajardo’s right hand man, RB Stefphon Jefferson, compiled 429 yards rushing (6.1 yds/carry) on the way to reaching the end zone 5 times last year as a Sophomore. DeDe Lattimore’s ability to stay focused on the ball carrier to maintain the edge against Jefferson will be critical.
Nevada’s Pistol Offense will bring real competition for the Bull’s on Saturday. Last week the Wolfpack put up 230 yards in the air & laid down 220 yards on the ground in a 31-24 rout of Cal. The Bull’s will need to play disciplined football to contain the Wolfpack’s hot duo of Fajardo & Jefferson. The Pistol coupled with the time zone change, 2,773 mile trek & high altitude will provide an early-season test for the Bull’s Defense. Dominating the line of scrimmage will be the key to leaving Reno with a W.
Final Score: 35-14 Bulls.
by Matthew Manuri
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