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Nevada in the NFL

As the 2013 NFL season opens tonight, below is a rundown of the 15 former Nevada players who made pro rosters so far this season.

Nevada has the third-most NFL players amongst Mountain West teams with its 15 players. Fresno State has 18 players (14 active, three practice squad and one injured reserve) while Boise State has 17 players (16 active, one injured reserve).

As a conference, the Mountain West has 82 players on active rosters and 15 more who are on practice squads.

Nevada's breakdown:
Active
Player            Position    NFL Team
Chris Barker        OL        New England Patriots
Nate Burleson        WR        Detroit Lions
Kaelin Burnett        LB        Oakland Raiders
Harvey Dahl        G        St. Louis Rams
Isaiah Frey        CB        Chicago Bears
Virgil Green        TE        Denver Broncos
Michael-James Johnson    LB        Kansas City Chiefs
Colin Kaepernick    QB        San Francisco 49ers
Rishard Matthews    WR        Miami Dolphins
Zach Sudfeld        TE        New England Patriots
Duke Williams        WR        Buffalo Bills

Practice Squad
Brandon Marshall    LB        Denver Broncos
Dontay Moch        LB        Arizona Cardinals
Khalid Wooten        CB        Tennessee Titans

Injured Reserve
Josh Mauga        LB        New York Jets

Nevada-UCLA TV information

This week's season-opener at UCLA will be televised on the Pac-12 Networks. This is the same network that carried the Nevada-Cal game last year. It is not widely distributed as of right now. Chris Murray of the RGJ explains the local availability (click here). 

College football rules changes

With the football season upon us, we thought this might be a good opportunity to explain some of the notable rules changes fans will see this year. The National Football Foundation put out this primer earlier this month:

The 8 Major Rule Changes for the 2013 Season
1.      Targeting Fouls: Automatic Ejection, Part I:
Players will automatically be disqualified from the game for targeting fouls, including (Rule 9-1-3) targeting and initiating contact with the crown of the helmet, and (Rule 9-1-4) targeting and initiating contact to the head or neck area of a defenseless opponent with the helmet, forearm, elbow or shoulder.  The foul itself has not changed.  These plays have been illegal for a number of years, but the penalty has been stiffened to include automatic ejection plus the 15-yard penalty.
2.      Targeting Fouls: Automatic Ejection, Part II:
A player is at great risk of being ejected from the game for a launch (leaving his feet to attack an opponent by an upward and forward thrust of the body to make contact in the head or neck area); a crouch (followed by an upward and forward thrust to attack with contact at the head or neck area); leading (with helmet, forearm, fist, hand or elbow to attack with contact at the head or neck area); or lowering (the head before attacking by initiating contact with the crown of the helmet).
3.      Offensive Blocking Below the Waist Rule:
The rule establishes a zone for the offense that extends seven yards from the snapper toward each sideline and goes five yards into the defensive secondary and in the other direction all the way back to the offensive team's end line. Within this zone, an offensive back who is stationary inside the tackle box and an offensive lineman inside the seven-yard zone may legally block below the waist until the ball has left the zone.  Everyone else on the offensive team may legally block below the waist only if the block is clearly to the front of the opponent. This only-from-the-front rule also holds true for everyone on the offensive team once the ball has left the zone. In addition, no one on the offense is allowed to block below the waist if the block is directed toward his own end line.
4.      Expansion of the 10-Second Runoff Rule:
In 2013, if a player is injured within the last minute of a half, and this is the only reason for stopping the clock, the opponent may choose to have 10 seconds subtracted from the game clock.  The injured player's team can preserve the 10 seconds by using a timeout.
5.      Player May Remain in the Game Via a Timeout After Helmet Comes Off:
The rule requiring a player to leave the game for one down if his helmet comes off has been modified to allow a player to remain in the game if his team is granted a charged timeout to adjust the player's helmet.
6.      Minimum Time to Spike the Ball for Another Play Set at 3 Seconds:
Teams will need a minimum of three seconds from the referee's signal to "spike" the ball to allow for another play at the end of a half. Teams must still execute the spike, but they will have a reasonable opportunity for another play.  If the clock shows one or two seconds, they will only have enough time to run a play without first spiking the ball.
7.      Procedures for Changing Jersey Numbers During a Game:
If a team wants to use a player at two different positions during the game, and they need to change jersey numbers, the player must report to the referee who will in turn announce the change. In addition, two players who play the same position at different times in the game may not wear the same number during the game. For example, two quarterbacks may not both wear number 12.
8.      Player Uniform Numerals Must Contrast With the Color of the Jersey:
The color of the jersey number itself must be clearly and obviously in contrast with the jersey, regardless of any border around the number. For example, teams will not be allowed to wear black numbers on black jerseys with a border of a bright color around the numeral; it must clearly contrast with the jersey in and of itself.

Nevada has 19 alums on NFL rosters

The University of Nevada has 19 alums in NFL training camps with less than a month to go before the regular season starts.

Week two of the preseason begins Thursday and it features a handful of matchups where Pack alums will face each other. That includes Saturday's game between the Titans (Khalid Wooten) and Bengals (Dontay Moch) and the Jaguars-Jets game that will have three former Pack linebackers in Jeremiah Green and Brandon Marshall (Jaguars) and Josh Mauga (Jets).

One of the more interesting matchups this week will be Friday night in Kansas City  where former Pack great Colin Kaepernick leads the San Francisco 49ers in to face the Chiefs, which has former Pack coach Chris Ault as a consultant.

Here's the list of Pack players in NFL camps:
Jonathon Amaya, Phoenix
Chris Barker, Miami
Nate Burleson, Detroit
Kaelin Burnett, Oakland
Harvey Dahl, St. Louis
Isaiah Frey, Chicago
Jeremiah Green, Jacksonville
Virgil Green, Denver
James-Michael Johnson, Cleveland
Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco
Brandon Marshall, Jacksonville
Rishard Matthews, Miami
Josh Mauga, New York Jets
Dontay Moch, Cincinnati
Jeff Nady, Atlanta
Tray Session, Oakland
Zach Sudfeld, New England
Duke Williams, Buffalo
Khalid Wooten, Tennessee

Kickoff time for Nevada-Air Force adjusted

RENO, Nev. - The kickoff time for Nevada's game on Sept. 28 against Air Force has been moved to 5:05 p.m.

The game was originally scheduled for a 4:35 p.m. kickoff but was moved back 30 minutes to accommodate for the national television broadcast by CBS Sports Network. The game will mark the first ever trip by Air Force to Mackay Stadium.

2013 Mountain West Football Media Days Photo Gallery

The 2013 Mountain West Football Media Days event concluded today at the Cosmopolitan Hotel in Las Vegas. Head coach Brian Polian, quarterback Cody Fajardo, and defensive tackle Jordan Hanson attended the event for Nevada, where interviews and photo/video shoots took place in preparation for the upcoming season.

Take a look at a few behind the scenes pictures of the event here.

Another Pack football game to be televised

RENO, Nev. - An 11th Nevada football game has been added to the television schedule as the Wolf Pack's Mountain West opener on Sept. 21 will be broadcast by Time Warner Oceanic, the Mountain West announced.

Kickoff for the game has been set for 5:05 p.m. at Mackay Stadium.

The game will be carried on a pay-per-view basis by Time Warner Oceanic in Hawaii and the coverage will be made available on the new Mountain West Digital Network. Carriage by additional networks is possible and more information will be forthcoming.

The only game on Nevada's 12-game slate not currently scheduled for television broadcast at this point is the home opener on Sept. 7 against UC Davis.

Click here for Nevada's 2013 schedule, including kickoff times (if known) and television info.


Hall of Famer John Polish Passes Away

Today, the 10 members of the Nevada Athletics Hall of Fame committee plan to meet to start selecting the next class of talented former student-athletes and coaches who will join that prestigious group this fall.

But as we prepare for that meeting, we learned this morning that a member of that prestigious Nevada Athletics Hall of Fame, John Polish, passed away on Monday at the age of 95.

John Polish was truly a legendary athlete in the state of Nevada, not just for his accomplishments as a football and track athlete at the University of Nevada from 1938-42. His exploits in high school were well-known and his lasting impact is still felt today as the top athlete at Yerington High School receives the John Polish Award. Below is a photo of Polish in action, carrying the ball in a 1940 game against BYU.

Polish_John1.jpg
Polish was a member of the second class inducted into the Nevada Athletics Hall of Fame in 1974. The press release at the time said this about him:

"Considered one of Nevada's top all-time high school athletes, John Polish entered the University of Nevada in the late 30s to star in football and track. Raised in Yerington, Nevada, Polish was a sensation at his high school. He was a super-gridder, good basketball player and did everything in track -- sprints, hurdles, weights, jumps. Although hampered at Nevada by injuries, Polish led the Wolf Pack in competition in the late 1930s. He was a hard-running halfback in football and a superb punter. In track, Polish won Far Western Conference titles in weights, jumps and hurdles."

After his college career was over, Polish went on to a career of public service, spending over 30 years as a teacher, principal and superintendent. He also served in the Nevada State Legislature. He continued to attend the yearly Nevada Athletics Hall of Fame Dinner when he could.

Dan Hinxman of the Reno Gazette-Journal wrote a great story on Polish in today's paper. Our condolences go out to Polish's friends and family.
Is there a better school at developing NFL talent than Nevada? Not among non-BCS schools according to research at Emory University.
Nevada, which has had nine NFL draft picks over the past three years is the top non-BCS school in the nation when it comes to converting talent to NFL draft picks.
Click here for the rankings and an explanation on their formula.

Inaugural Chili Cook-Off a big success

Holly Aycock, Nevada's director of marketing and promotions, recaps the Chili Cook-Off:
The inaugural Wolf Pack Chili Cook-Off was held before 2013 Wolf Pack Silver and Blue Spring Game, presented by Saint Mary's Regional Medical Center, on Saturday, April 20th.  Nine groups entered the chili cook off: Team Roberts; Moto Mud; The Hot Beans; Big Thick Steaming Bowl of Wolf Brand Chili; Battle Born, Tailgate Ready; Aultitude Tailgating; Wolf Pack Gridiron Chili; Spring Loaded Chili; and Nevada Cheer.

The morning of the Chili Cook-Off, you could smell chili in the air and before the judging, the Nevada Band and Cheer Team entertained all the tailgaters. Judges for the Chili Cook-Off were Keith Hackett and Rory Hickok (Senior Associate Athletics Directors), head soccer coach Missy Price, head volleyball coach Ruth Lawanson, News Channel 4's Alyx Sacks, Wolfie Jr. and Alphie. Each of the chili was judged on aroma, consistency, color, taste and aftertaste. All of the judges did a great job and enjoyed everyone's chili. 

The scores were tabulated and all contestants were invited down to the field at halftime of the game. The winner by just one-half of a point, was Battle Born, Tailgate Ready. Spring Loaded Chili took second place and Moto Mud was third place.

Battle Born, Tailgate Ready was presented the ultimate chili trophy to be displayed at their tailgates before every home football game.  The title also comes with bragging rights for your fellow Wolf Pack tailgaters. 
 

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