Preview 2017: Nevada’s Air Raid Offense Is Here
The new Nevada coaching staff is bringing a new offense to crank things up. Is it going to work right away?
Nevada is about to be interesting.
Stuck in a rut for way too long – hitting a seven-win ceiling ever since the brilliant Colin Kaepernick-led 13-1 season of 2010 – the program is trying to bust out and do something a bit outside of the box.
After years of the Pistol offense – made famous by Hall of Fame former head man Chris Ault – and with blending of styles over the last few mediocre seasons, get your popcorn ready because here comes the Air Raid.
New head coach Jay Norvell has been the around the assistant coach circuit for a long, long, long time, both in college and the pros. He’s been able to run the offenses at UCLA, Oklahoma and Nebraska, and despite being a former defensive back, he’s always been known as an offensive coach as he bounced around at nine different places since the late 1980s.
Now he’s getting his shot to run a program for the first time, and he’s not going to be boring about it.
The assistant coach extraordinaire who knows offense is going full-tilt with the passing game, bringing in offensive coordinator Matt Mumme to crank up the Air Raid attack.
Known mostly for helping make former Kentucky slinger Tim Couch the No. 1 pick in the draft, the offensive style is sort of like what Texas Tech does, except even faster and with even more passing – if that’s possible.
But offense hasn’t been the problem at Nevada – it’s the run defense that ranked last in the nation last season.
Even so, the idea will be for the Wolf Pack to bomb their way in to wins. This is going to be one of those teams that no one will want to face on the wrong week – they’ll require effort to prepare for the gimmicky offensive style – but as long as it gets the program into the Mountain West title chase at some point, it’ll all work.
Getting Alabama QB transfer David Cornwell in to run the thing is a great start, and it helps having the top two receivers back to make it all work, especially with star RB James Butler transferring to Iowa. The line will be fine when it comes to giving everyone time to work, but there’s little depth.
That defense that got ripped apart by just about everyone with a decent offense should be strong in the secondary, and that’s a good thing considering the shift to a 3-3-5 alignment.
The front six has to get into the backfield more after generating little pass rush last year, but as long as the D isn’t getting gouged for close to 300 rushing yards per game again, consider it an improvement no matter what.
Will the experiment turn Nevada into a factor in the West race right away? It might take a little while, but when it works, look out.
It’s going to be a fun ride.