by Joe Santoro

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January 5, 2012
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Sports Fodder: Ault needed longer extension


Sports fodder for a Friday morning . . .

Chris Ault, once again, is just a year away from being a lame duck football coach. Ault, who has two years left on his current Nevada Wolf Pack deal, should have received more than a token two-year extension last year after the Pack finished 13-1. This football program, we found out this year, is nowhere near where Ault wants to leave it. And that likely won't change in 24 months. What happens to the pistol offense if Ault leaves after 2013? Wolf Pack football is the pistol offense. And Wolf Pack football is Ault. Losing both in two short years would be a disaster. It's simply too soon.

. . .

Is the future Wolf Pack head football coach on the staff already? Doubtful. First of all, you can eliminate all of the defensive coaches. It doesn't make sense for the Pack to turn the program over to a defensive coach. They did that in 2000 with Chris Tormey and, well, we know how that worked out. The current staff is full of career assistants. Good coaches. Loyal coaches. Good men. Loyal men. The perfect complement to Ault. But will Ault feel confident turning his baby -- the pistol offense -- over to any of them? It doesn't seem so, particularly since Ault has handled the offensive coordinator and quarterback coaching duties himself in recent years. The old ball coach needs to start grooming his successor. Or sign a 5-year extension.

. . .

Will athletic director Cary Groth allow Ault to pick his successor? Yes, we know, Ault doesn't exactly have a Hall of Fame track record in hiring head football coaches. Jeff Horton, Jeff Tisdel and Tormey had a combined career record of 46-57 in nine years with just one bowl appearance. But, we know now, Ault never truly retired in the past. All three of those Ault hires were under strange and unfair pressures with Ault looking over their shoulder. This time, though, would be different. Ault, we assume, will be leaving the program for good. And he has earned the right to pick the next football coach if, for no other reason, he's the only person on campus who knows a thing or two about what this football program needs. Among the only three sports that matter (to the public) on campus -- football, men's basketball and baseball -- Groth has only had to hire two basketball coaches. They were great hires. But she only had to look down the hall to find Mark Fox and David Carter. What does Groth know about football? We already know that she doesn't know how to schedule (Boise State this year, for example) or promote (an average attendance 15,776 this year) the sport.

. . .

The Wolf Pack can't seem to promote football or men's basketball to the community but it sure does know how to get its mascot a national award. Wolf Pack mascot, Wolfie Jr., won the internet-based Capital One Mascot Challenge recently. Maybe the Pack should take a cue from Wolfie Jr.'s victory and have David Carter and Chris Ault moon walk off the top of the Reno Aces dugout this spring. Who knows? It might sell a few tickets. Can't hurt.

. . .

The Indianapolis Colts positively, without hesitation, should draft Stanford's Andrew Luck with the first pick in the NFL draft this spring. Baylor's Robert Griffin III will likely be a decent quarterback in the NFL. But he's just 6-foot-2 and he's not Cam Newton II. Luck, like Peyton Manning, is a once-a-generation quarterback. You don't pass on once-a-generation quarterbacks in the draft. The Colts don't need to over think this.

. . .

Are the Denver Broncos the worst playoff team in NFL history? They are certainly in the conversation. The Broncos backed into the playoffs, losing their last three games to finish 8-8. Actually, they should have lost their last 10 games in a row. Their quarterback can't complete half of his passes. Their defense is wearing out. The best thing for the long-term health of the Broncos would be for Tim Tebow to stink up the stadium this weekend so they can move on from this circus sideshow and find a real quarterback.

. . .

We also like New Orleans to beat Detroit in what could be the highest scoring playoff game in history, the Giants to beat Atlanta in what could be the most boring playoff game in history and Houston to get past Cincinnati in what could be the ugliest playoff game in history.

. . .

Colin Kaepernick is shrinking. When Kaepernick was at Nevada, he was listed as being 6-foot-6. Last year during his NFL tryouts he was commonly listed at 6-5. And, now, the San Francisco 49ers have him at 6-4. By the time Kaepernick is inducted into the Wolf Pack Hall Of Fame in 10 years, he'll be looking up at Chris Ault and asking him, "What's the weather like up there?"

. . .

If the NFL was college football, we'd have the GoDaddy.com Bowl between the Cowboys and Bears, the Beef O'Brady's Bowl between the Cardinals and Jets, the Meineke Car Care Bowl with the Raiders and Titans and the Eagles-Chargers Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. A total of 20 NFL teams won eight or more games this year, leaving us with nine meaningless exhibition games (college has 34 meaningless exhibition games) leading up to the BCS title game a month from now between the Packers and Patriots. Hmm, maybe the bowl game set-up isn't so bad after all. It sure beats Bengals-Texans, Giants-Falcons and Steelers-Broncos.


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The Record Courier Updated Jan 5, 2012 05:15PM Published Jan 5, 2012 05:13PM Copyright 2012 The Record Courier. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.