RENO - Nevada coach Chris Ault has been quick to point out that his biggest concern entering the 2005 season is the inexperience and depth on the offensive line.
The "Union," the moniker the offensive linemen have given themselves, understands Ault's rants, and they are anxious to prove him wrong.
When Nevada lines up Friday night against Washington State at Mackay Stadium, (7 p.m., ESPN), the offensive line will have only 21 combined starts, and if Fred White starts ahead of Jimmy Wadhams at center, that number goes down to 13.
Twelve of those starts belong to senior co-captain Adam Kiefer, who started at strong tackle last season. Wadhams started eight games last year at center and Barrett Reznick started one game at guard. The other two starters - guard Dominic Green, a redshirt freshman, and senior tackle Tony Moll - have never started a game at their current positions. Moll played tight end the previous three years.
If you are Washington State's defense, you are probably licking your lips in anticipation. It wouldn't be surprising to see the Cougars pick on Green and Moll a little bit, given their inexperience and the overall lack of depth.
"I have all the confidence in the world," Nevada quarterback Jeff Rowe said. "They have done a great job in camp."
Bring it on said Moll and Kiefer.
"I hope they do (come after Dominic and I)," said Moll. "It's all about preparation, and who can prepare the best. Even though we lack a lot of experience and depth, we're going to be very prepared."
"Dominic is doing a real good job now, and he'll be good for years to come," Kiefer said. "He's way ahead of where I was when I came here in terms of knowledge of the game."
Kiefer, in his role as captain and leader of the line, has been working overtime this week.
"I'm trying to be confident and positive (with the younger players); help them get ready for the season," Kiefer said. "We're trying to show them we have confidence in them.
"There are going to be first-game jitters. We all know how important it is (to get off to a good start)."
Experienced or not, Kiefer said this group can be better than last year's group, which featured seniors Harvey Dahl and Chris Hines.
"We all get along well," Moll said. "That makes a major difference."
Kiefer agreed, saying the Pack has the right chemistry up front. He doesn't expect to see the finger-pointing that went on last year at times with the mostly veteran group.
This is a new group, and as Kiefer and Moll pointed out, people have bought into Ault's philosophy and the way of doing things, which wasn't totally the case last season.
"The last two years we've gone through an adjustment with coaches," Moll said. "It's hard in a sense (to change) when you have been working a particular way for the past four years."
Notes: Former Douglas High stars Luke Rippee, a reserve defensive back, and wide receiver Andy McIntosh will play on special teams Friday... Ault said he expects free safety Nick Hawthrone to play Friday, but he may not start. If that does indeed happen, Bishop Manogue's Matt Virden will start in his place. Virden red-shirted last year... Ezra Butler has beaten out Selevasio Fauolo at one defensive end and Nick Fuhr starts in place of J.J. Milan, who re-injured his foot recently and is out for the season. Josh Magua of Fallon, a true freshman, is expected to play some behind Fuhr.
Contact Darrell Moody at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call (775) 881-1281.