Football: Wolf Pack Notebook: Nevada looking thin at safety
The Nevada Wolf Pack football team clearly does not have safeties in numbers.
The Wolf Pack needs to find a new starting free safety this week after losing Corbin Louks in last Thursday’s 49-24 season-opening victory over Eastern Washington.
Louks, who suffered a knee sprain and a bone bruise, is expected to be out for 2-4 weeks.
“It hurts our depth,” head coach Chris Ault said. “But all those guys (at safety) are fairly even, to be honest. But you don’t like to lose anyone. We’ll miss Corbin.”
The 6-foot, 200-pound Louks sat out last season at Nevada after transferring from Utah (where he played quarterback).
“The next guy has to pick up the slack,” Pack defensive coordinator Andy Buh said. “That’s how it is in football. We’re going to miss Corbin the next three or four weeks.”
The candidates to start at strong and free safety this week are Duke Williams, Marlon Johnson, Dean Faddis (last week’s starter at strong safety) and Chris Boudreaux.
Boudreaux and Johnson led the Wolf Pack last week with seven tackles each. Boudreaux also had a sack.
“We don;t have a lot of experience back there at safety,” Ault said.
Williams, who played 11 games last year (with one start) at strong safety, returns after serving a one-game suspension for being involved in an altercation with Johnson last spring.
Buh and Ault said Monday that Williams, who was also suspended for two games last year for two separate off-the-field violations of team rules, will start this week.
“No question,” Ault said. “He’s paid his dues.”
“Having Duke back will be great,” Buh said. “He brings a lot of energy. We’re looking for a lot of good things out of Duke Williams.”
Ault said Williams, who had 29 tackles last year, earned his teammates’ praise a week ago.
“He practiced with the offense and he was named the (scout team) Player of the Week,” Ault said. “They threw him in there at running back and he did a heck of a job.
I told him, ‘I’m proud of you.’ He’s working hard.”
GREEN, KAEPERNICK HONORED: Wolf Pack tight end Virgil Green and quarterback Colin Kaepernick were both honored last week by the College Football Performance Awards.
Green was named the National Tight End Performer of the Week after catching seven passes for 144 yards and two touchdowns against Eastern Washington.
Kaepernick was named honorable mention at quarterback after throwing for 306 yards and two touchdowns and rushing for 60 yards and two touchdowns.
KAEPERNICK SAYS HE WAS AVERAGE: Kaepernick, who also completed 26-of-37 passes without an interception or sack against Eastern Washington, said he was only “average” last week.
It was his first 300-yard passing game since he threw for 370 yards in a bowl game loss to Maryland at the end of the 2008 season.
“For me, it’s just about the little things,” Kaepernick said. “It’s about the difference between throwing right at the receivers or leading them a little. I missed some throws I should have made. I try to be perfect out there and if I’m not it’s not good enough and I’m always going to try to be better.”
GOOD START FOR A CHANGE: The victory over Eastern Washington (a Division I-AA school) was just the Pack’s fifth victory in a season opener in 19 seasons as a Division I-A team (since 1992).
Ault is now 16-10 in season openers as head coach. The Wolf Pack football program, now in its 104th year, is 58-43-3 overall in season openers.
The Pack is just 3-8 in season openers since joining the Western Athletic Conference in 2000.
TAUA REACHES MILESTONE: Pack senior running back Vai Taua had 51 yards rushing last Thursday to become just the sixth back in Pack history to reach 3,000 career yards.
Taua now has 3,029 yards and is fifth in Pack history, behind Frank Hawkins (5,333), Charvez Foger (4,484), Chris Lemon (4,246) and Chance Kretschmer (3,782) and just ahead of Luke Lippincott (3,014).
Taua would have to average 81 yards a game the rest of the regular season to reach 4,000 yards and 192 yards a game to pass Hawkins and become the Pack’s all-time leading rusher.