Teams & Conferences

2017 Prespring Rankings: No. 93 Nevada Wolf Pack

2017 Prespring Rankings: No. 93 Nevada Wolf Pack


The 2017 prespring college football rankings, taking the first look at the Nevada Wolf Pack


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Nevada Wolf Pack Prespring Status

Even with a few late wins, the 5-7 season was enough for the program to make a coaching change. Now it’s up to Jay Norvell to get the offense going again after the Wolf Pack finished 88th in the country, and to do something, anything, with the nation’s worst run defense. This is a program that’s used to being in the hunt for the Mountain West title, and it might be relatively close with a few tweaks – and a major one for that run D.

The O line has replacements to deal with, there has to be more pop from the entire attack, and the defensive front is at least experienced. The veterans are in place for Norvell to come in and be at least a few wins better to get back to a bowl game. More than that, though, the program has to look and play like it’s going on an upward swing. That’s where the new Air Raid offense has to kick in – get ready for the big-time passing game to come.

Nevada Wolf Pack Biggest Issue

The punting game. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, the run defense is the biggest issue, but that’s where the new coaching staff and all the returning experience should help. The placekicking wasn’t a prize, but Spencer Pettit stepped up as the season went on. Elijah Mitchell was a good kickoff returner, averaging 23 yards per try, but now he’s gone. The big loss is punter Alex Boy, who helped bail the team out as much as possible averaging close to 44 yards per kick in his third year as a starter. For a team that needs the field position to rock, getting consistency out of the punting game is a big key to the turnaround.

Nevada Wolf Pack Biggest Positive

The running game should be fantastic. Leading rusher James Butler is back after running for 1,336 yards and 12 scores, and backup Jaxson Kincaide returns. Two starters might be gone off the O line, but QB Ty Gangi can run, and the pieces are in place to keep the offense from being throw first, throw always. That’s what new offensive coordinator Matt Mumme might want to do, and with three of the top receivers returning, that might happen. The ground attack will work, too.

Really, Why Are The Nevada Wolf Pack Ranked Here?

Can Nevada shift gears in a hurry? The Wolf Pack will wing it around the yard, but they’ll be able to run it whenever they want to and – again – that run defense has to be night-and-day better. Can the passing game go from being mediocre to devastating? Can Alabama transfer David Cornwell be the guy to make the O go? There are too many moving parts to move up much higher, but this will be one of the Mountain West’s more interesting teams.