Category: Around the WAC


Once again, Nevada’s lost one of its coaches. This time, its Fresno State who is the beneficiary. The Bulldogs signed former Wolf Pack offensive line coach/run game coordinator Cameron Norcross to be its offensive line coach. Norcross, a former Nevada player, had spent his entire coaching career with the Wolf Pack up until this point.

That’s a pretty big loss for the coaching staff. “The Union” has always paved the way for what has become perennially one of the nation’s top rushing attacks and overall offenses in terms of yards per game.

Lukas Eggen can be reached at eggen.lukas@gmail.com.

ESPN has named Nevada as one non-AQ schools on the rise. You can read the article here.

However, I do think it’s a little unfair to judge whether Nevada falls back to the pack, as the article puts it, or keeps up its momentum. The true test will be after this season to see whether Cody Fajardo or Mason Magleby can step into the starting role.

Fresno State was also listed.

Lukas Eggen can be reached at eggen.lukas@gmail.com.

The New Mexico State Aggies have been the bottom-feeders of the Western Athletic Conference for years. The team hasn’t had a .500 record since the 2002 season. Head coach DeWayne Walker is entering his third season with the team. After a dismal 2010 season, where the team’s only two wins came by a total of four points against San Jose State and New Mexico, should Aggies fans be optimistic about the direction the team is headed?

The offense

Senior quarterback Matt Christian will be leading the offense after throwing eight touchdowns and two picks in eight games last season. But, if he struggles, QB Andrew Manley, who played in five games, could take over. The Aggies had one of the worst offenses in the nation last season. The team averaged just 15.7 points per game, and had a total of 17 offensive touchdowns. Running back Kenny Turner, the team’s leading rusher, returns, but it remains to be seen whether he can truly carry the load as a feature back. Turner had 461 yards last year.

To put it simply, the Aggies need Christian to lead this offense with confidence. New Mexico State isn’t going to win any more games than it did in 2010 averaging 15 points per game. The quarterbacks did a good job spreading the ball around to different receivers, but think of it this way: the Aggies had nine passing touchdowns last season. Nevada had seven total touchdowns when it played New Mexico State. The Aggies also lost its top receivers in Kyle Nelson and Marcus Allen. Clearly, the team needs a break out star in the receiving core.

The good news is New Mexico State returns its offensive line, which gave up just 20 sacks last season. Still, unless something drastically changes, the Aggies offense will be sputtering again.

The defense

While the offense struggled to score, the defense gave up 39.5 points per game. The defense gave up 40 or more points in seven of the team’s 12 games last season, not exactly a good combination. Yet, returning starters Donyae Coleman (strong safety) and Pierre Fils (defensive end) will be called upon to lead a defense that struggled to stop opposing offenses. However, linebacker B.J. Adolpho, who was second on the team in tackles, tied for second on the team in sacks and led the team in tackles-for-loss, could be the difference maker. If Adolpho can take his game to the next level, he will be feared by offenses and could make a huge difference in stopping the run.

That would be great for the Aggies since New Mexico State gave up 32 rushing touchdowns last season.

Special teams

Place kicker Tyler Stampler made 16-of-19 field goals in 2010, including five-of-seven between 40 and 49 yards. He was generally consistent, and for an anemic offense like the Aggies, that should be good enough to keep his job.

Punter Jake Capraro averaged 36.9 yards per kick, a pedestrian number that must improve to help New Mexico State win the field position battle during games. The return game was ok, if unimpressive. To put it frankly: The special teams isn’t very special.

2011 season

There seems to be little reason to believe the Aggies will be significantly better this season than last. The good news is its schedule includes games against four teams with losing records last year in its first five games. The bad news, that doesn’t necessarily mean New Mexico State can win those games. The Aggies seem headed to improve on its two-win season, but destined to finish below .500 once again.

Lukas Eggen can be reached at eggen.lukas@gmail.com.

The Western Athletic Conference Sports Network (WSN) announced that Barry Tompkins and Joe Glenn will be the football announcers for the 2011 season. Tompkins broadcasted Pac-10 football and basketball games for the Fox Sports Network and has four Emmys and more than 40 years of network television experience.

Glenn has served as head coach of several football programs including Northern Colorado, the University of Montana and, most recently, the University of Wyoming from 2003-08.

“This is tremendous that we’ll have both Barry Tompkins and Joe Glenn at the helm of our football broadcasts for the 2011 season,” WAC Commissioner Karl Benson said in a press release.  “We’re fortunate to have such a talented, legendary team for our second year of WSN, and we know our fans will be thrilled.”

The pair will make their debut Sept. 17 when they broadcast the Nevada-San Jose State game.

Lukas Eggen can be reached at eggen.lukas@gmail.com.

Around the WAC-2/26

TRACK AND FIELD

The Louisiana Tech Lady Techsters have taken the team championship at the Indoor Championship in Napa, Idaho. The Lady Techsters defeated the Idaho Vandals 133-132 while Nevada finished in third with 88 points.

You can read about the full competition see results here.

MEN’S BASKETBALL

The Utah State Aggies are regular season champions once again. With New Mexico State’s loss to San Jose State earlier this week, Utah State clinched the regular season title. The Aggies have also secured its 12th-straight postseason appearance and is one of two teams in the nation to have at least 23 wins in 12-straight seasons. You can read about the team’s accomplishment here.

 

Women’s basketball

Nevada guard Tahnee Robinson was named a semifinalist for the Sullivan Award, which goes to the nation’s best amateur athlete and takes into consideration accomplishments during the 2010 season. Robinson is one of 12 semifinalists. Among the other semifinalists are Auburn quarterback Cam Newton and Brigham Young University basketball player Jimmer Fredette. You can read the full article here.

Men’s basketball update

With Nevada’s loss to Hawaii Monday night, the race for the Western Athletic Conference’s second seed just got a lot more interesting. In the conference standings, Nevada trails New Mexico State by one game. However, the Wolf Pack plays the Aggies in Nevada’s final regular season game. If both teams win out until then and Nevada wins, the Wolf Pack would get the second seed due to sweeping the season series against New Mexico State. The second seed would be huge for Nevada as it would receive a bye into the semifinals round of the WAC Tournament.

Around the WAC

SOFTBALL

The 2011 softball season is set to kick off this weekend with many of the Western Athletic Conference’s teams in action. Defending champion Hawaii was picked to repeat, picking of six of eight first-place votes. Fresno State, who was picked second, received the final two first-place votes.

The full list and the preseason All-WAC teams can be found here.

WOMEN’S BASKETBALL

The WAC has taken action against Louisiana Tech and Fresno State after an altercation between the two teams. The Lady Techsters defeated the Bulldogs 90-84 and the two teams met at center court after the completion of the game. Both teams have been publicly reprimanded and Fresno State player Marnique Arnold and Louisiana Tech player Briatta Thomas were suspended for one game.

The Fresno Bee has an article about the event and can be read here.

Men’s Basketball

When Utah State headed into its game against Idaho, the Aggies had  a chance to clinch at least a share of the conference title. Ranked No. 17, Utah State had won 17 games in a row, was undefeated in conference play and had only two losses overall.

Idaho, however, upset the Aggies 64-56 at home, ending Utah State’s winning streak. The victory was Idaho’s first against a ranked team since the 2009 season when the Vandals defeated No. 25 Portland.

You can read about the game here.