Coach Polian's thoughts on the first five practices of spring ball.
April 11, 2014
RENO, Nev. – Wednesday evening’s practice under the lights at Mackay Stadium marked the fifth of 15 practices for the Nevada football team. With a third of spring ball in the books, second-year coach Brian Polian offered his thoughts on the team.
I am pleased with where are after five practices. We have suffered some injuries that have challenged our depth, but I think the team has responded well. Younger players are taking advantage of added reps and our veterans have continued to improve. We are solely focused on trying to improve each day and making sure that we leave the spring a better fundamental football team than when we started.
Thoughts on offense…
On the offensive side of the ball, we are seeing some significant improvement. Our two top running backs, Don Jackson and Kendall Brock, have both had good camps thus far. Jerico Richardson and Richy Turner have both practiced well at wide receiver. Austin Corbett has done a really good job of competing as a freshman running with the first offensive line. Cody Fajardo has been steady so far and is showing great leadership. Tyler Stewart and Dante Mayes are battling on a daily basis and we are looking forward to watching that play out over the last 10 practices. Moving forward, we need to continue to develop depth on the offensive line and at wide receiver and identify the younger players that might be ready to help us in the fall.
Thoughts on defense…
We are probably a little farther along than I anticipated we would be at this point. I think that the players have done a nice job of learning and adjusting to a new system. I think our coaches have done a really good job as well as we have made this transition.
Bryan Lane has had a good start to the spring at outside linebacker and Jonathon McNeal and Jordan Dobrich have been solid at the inside spots. Fie Faaituala has improved steadily and Alex Bertrando should challenge for time as well. On the defensive line, we are pleased with the consistent effort of Brock Hekking, and Ian Seau has been explosive. In the defensive backfield, we are pleased with the progress of all of the safeties – Duran Workman, Koadi Dike, Tere Calloway and Nigel Haikens have all improved in a short period. Charles Garrett and Evan Favors have been good at cornerback, and young guys like Randy Uzoma and Jaden Sawyer have improved noticeably.
On new additions to the coaching staff…
The two new coaches have both been outstanding so far. Cheston Blackshear is a terrific teacher of fundamentals and is a demanding presence for the tight end group. Scott Boone has been a good fit as well. He has a commanding presence with the defense, has been smart with the way he has installed the package, and has our guys flying around. I think both coaches have been embraced by our team and will prove to be valuable additions.
On what fans can expect at the practice at Carson High School on Saturday…
We are looking forward to a good practice on Friday and then taking the show on the road and heading to Carson high in Carson City on Saturday. The practice will consist of some individual time for each position, group work consisting of 7-on-7 pass skeleton and pass rush, and then a live scrimmage where we hope to run between 70 or 80 plays. I have no doubt that the energy created by a change of scenery and competing in front of fans will help our football team.
The Silver and Blue Spring Game is April 26 at Mackay Stadium.