Wolf Pack Football: Change at quarterback could be coming
September 21, 2011
Chris Ault is not happy with the Nevada Wolf Pack’s quarterback situation.
“Our offense was stagnant,” said Ault, referring to the Pack’s 17-14 victory at San Jose State last Saturday. “And that all starts with the quarterback.”
Tyler Lantrip started at San Jose State and played the entire game at quarterback, completing 11-of-21 passes for 112 yards and two interceptions. In two games this season he has completed 32-of-56 passes for 331 yards, one touchdown and four interceptions.
“Tyler’s forte is throwing the ball and he has not thrown the ball well yet,” Ault said. “He was inconsistent. If he’s going to be the guy he has to throw the ball better.”
“I made some mistakes,” Lantrip said. “I have to do a better job.”
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Backup Cody Fajardo completed 2-of-4 passes for 14 yards and one interception in his only action of the year at Oregon on Sept. 10.
Ault said Tuesday that Fajardo will see action Saturday when the Pack travel to Texas Tech.
“He’ll play and he’ll see more time,” Ault said. “Tyler will start but Cody will get some time.”
Ault just wants to see more efficiency out of his offense.
“This offense is too good of an offense to do what we’re doing right now,” he said. “We have to get better.”
BALL, JEFFERSON IMPRESSIVE: Wolf Pack running back Mike Ball was named the WAC Offensive Player of the Week this week after picking up 124 yards on 29 carries at San Jose State in his first start. Backup running back Stefphon Jefferson also ran well, gaining 75 yards on 12 carries.
“Mike is a tremendous talent,” Lantrip said. “He has that speed and power to go inside. He was huge (against San Jose State). He ran hard.”
Ball, a junior, is the first Nevada running back to win the WAC’s top weekly award since Vai Taua won it last Oct. 11.
“I was real pleased with Mike,” head coach Chris Ault said. “He was tough all day long. He ran the ball hard.
“Now let’s see if he sustains. That’s the key to being a Nevada back. You have to do it every week.”
Jefferson has now rushed for 137 yards this season on 22 carries in two games for an average of 6.2 a carry.
“Stefphon stepped up and played very well, which we were expecting,” Ault said.
Ault has been impressed with Jefferson so far this season.
He might be the sleeper in this group,” Ault said. “We’re excited to keep him in this mix and keep him going.”
Jefferson, a 5-foot-11, 200-pound sophomore from Visalia, Calif., has gained 163 yards on 25 carries in his career for an average of 6.5 yards a carry. He has also never lost a yard on any of his 25 career carries.
“I’ve been given a great opportunity,” Jefferson said. “I just want to go out there and produce when I get the chance.”
Jefferson gave a lot of credit to the Pack offensive line for much of his 75 yards against the Spartans.
“I just read my reads and the holes just opened up for me,” he said.
CHANGE MIGHT COME AT CENTER: Ault is also not happy with the recent play of starting center Jeff Meads. Meads, who started all 14 games last season, was removed against San Jose State for a handful of plays in favor of backup Jordan Mudge.
Ault said Mudge and Meads are currently in a battle for the starting job.
“We have to take a look at that spot this week,” he said.
Ault said Meads has not performed as well as the offense needs.
“It’s all physical,” Ault said. “He’s making the right calls (along the offensive line). It’s all physical. When the time comes that we need a block made, we need it right then. That hasn’t happened at times this year.”
MAGLEBY KEEPS WORKING: Mason Magleby went to spring ball hoping to win the Pack’s starting quarterback spot.
When it became apparent that Lantrip had won the job, Magleby then went to fall camp hoping to win the backup job. Now he’s the forgotten No. 3 quarterback on the depth chart.
“I pulled a hamstring at the start of fall camp and that really set me back,” the 6-foot-2, 205-pound sophomore said. “And then I probably came back too early and that hurt me, too.
“I’ve never been hurt before in my career so I guess I didn’t handle it well. So it’s been frustrating.”
Fajardo, a red-shirt last year, has passed him on the depth chart and could be starting soon.
“Cody is too good of an athlete,” Magleby said. “If you give him a little opening to step in, he’s going to do it. That’s what happened to me when I was out.”
Magleby, who sat out his first year at Nevada in 2009 as a red-shirt, is now 100 percent physically.
“I’m able to go full speed now and I feel great,” he said. “All I can do is keep working and be ready when the team needs me.”