The Nevada Wolfpack got the prize of 2nd place in the WAC behind Boise State last year with a 8-5 overall record and 7-1 in conference. They took a 45-10 beat down by the hands of Southern Methodist in the Hawaii Bowl, guess they at least had a nice trip at the islands.
The Wolfpack looks to be the same on offense with nine starters returning and with most of the skill positions returning as well plus they run the best named offense: The Pistol. They return nine starters from the Pistol offense starting with RB Vai Taua and his 1,345 rushing yards and 10 rushing touchdowns will return for his senior season, and then the trigger man QB Colin Kaepernick and his 3,241 all purpose yards are also returning for his senior season. Kaepernick could be a dark horse Heisman candidate if he put up huge numbers again. The top four receivers are back headlined by stud freshman Brandon Wimberly who had 733 yards and 6 touchdowns.
The Wolfpack did lose 1,000 yard runner Luke Lippincott. On the offensive line Nevada lost two players to graduation in Kenneth Ackerman and Alonzo Durham who went to 49ers mini camp. It looks to be another solid and explosive offensive team in Nevada under Chris Ault. They will run the pistol offense that Ault has made famous and you can bet they will run it well. The Wolfpack was first in the nation in rushing the ball, and only second in total offense behind the pass happy offense ran by the Houston Cougars.
Chris Brown of Smart Football says when the Pistol is on it is really good:
When the pistol works, it's the best of both worlds for Nevada: Both I-formation and spread, both old and new school. Ultimately, however, there's only so much magic in simply putting your running back behind your quarterback -- that's not exactly a novel proposition. What has made Nevada's dynamic offense go has been Ault and his staff's ability to teach these schemes and to adjust week-to-week. Without getting all Bill Callahan in a restricted space, Nevada actually has one of the most diverse playbooks in terms of the number of different blocking schemes; it's something they have developed to stay ahead of the game.
On defense it is a little different story as the Wolfpack lost four defensive backs, three defensive lineman, and a linebacker to graduation. Among those were the three leading tacklers in Jonathan Amaya, Mike Bethea, and Mo Harvey.
Nevada does return its top three sack leaders in Kevin Basped, Dontay Moch, and Ryan Coulson who are all entering their senior seasons. Those three players could put the Wolfpack near the top of the WAC defensive standings and just behind Boise. Make no mistake the best defense for Nevada is for their offense to put up huge numbers in each game. The defense does need to show up and make some stops when they play tougher opponents.
Nevada could make a run this year as long as they do not start off 0-3 last year where they looked pathetic.