Norvell remains a mystery coach, for now | RecordCourier.com

Norvell remains a mystery coach, for now

Joe Santoro

Sports fodder for a Friday morning …

If you still don't have any clue about Jay Norvell, well, join the club. The Nevada Wolf Pack football head coach seems to be one of the biggest mysteries in college football. The Sporting News recently ranked the 130 Football Bowl Subdivision head coaches and the 54-year-old Norvell is at 128. It seems the Wolf Pack, according to The Sporting News, would have done better by naming Alphie or the Reno Arch as its head coach. The only two coaches ranked below Norvell are Western Michigan's Tim Lester at 129 and San Jose State's Brent Brennan at 130. Even UNLV's Tony Sanchez, who has gone 7-17 the last two years after a career as a high school coach, was ranked ahead of Norvell at 109. Norvell and the Wolf Pack are obviously the best kept secret in college football.

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The real truth about Norvell is that he just might become the best coach in the nation that nobody has ever heard of. He has completely transformed the Wolf Pack in just his first eight months on the job. The Pack have a new offense and defense and almost a completely new roster. In another year or two you will likely see the fastest Wolf Pack team ever, if it isn't already. New offensive coordinator Matt Mumme, who is smart, fearless and a little bit of a maverick, is going to overwhelm the conference with his Air Raid offense. And there isn't anything that defensive coordinator Jeff Casteel, who is as tough as they come, hasn't seen before. The players truly seem to love Norvell, which is something entirely new for a Nevada head coach.

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The most important player on this year's Nevada Wolf Pack football team just might be mighty mite wide receiver Kaleb Fossum. Listed generously as 5-foot-9 by the Wolf Pack athletic department, the former walk-on at Washington State has already made his presence known in Reno. His experience in the Pack's new Air Raid offense while at Washington State under coach Mike Leach has been invaluable for the Pack and new quarterback David Cornwell. Fossum and Cornwell are roommates and Cornwell has already described Fossum as his very own Julian Edelman and Wes Welker. Cornwell also quotes Fossum during his media interviews, saying that Fossum told him that "everyone eats in this offense." Well, nobody eats more than the quarterback's roommate.

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Who might be the first Mountain West football coach to be fired immediately after the 2017 season? Well, it won't be Norvell, Brennan or Fresno's Jeff Tedford, the conference's three new coaches. It also won't be Boise State's Bryan Harsin, Air Force's Troy Calhoun, Wyoming's Craig Bohl, San Diego State's Rocky Long, New Mexico's Bob Davie, Hawaii's Nick Rolovich, UNLV's Tony Sanchez or Colorado State's Mike Bobo. All have been extremely successful or are loved in their communities (yes, even Sanchez). That leaves just Utah State's Matt Wells on the coaching hot seat in the Mountain West. And not even that seat is all that hot. Wells has gone 9-16 the last two years but he went to a bowl game his first three years and is 28-25 in four seasons. The Aggies should be able to win six games this year and go to a bowl and save Wells' job.

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The NBA better hope that LeBron James never retires. If it wasn't for LeBron and his Cleveland Cavaliers the NBA would be about as interesting as golf, tennis and the WNBA. The Cavaliers shipped unhappy point guard Kyrie Irving to their only true rival in the Eastern Conference, the Boston Celtics, in exchange for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder and a draft pick. At first glance, it seems like Cleveland just traded the Eastern title to the Celtics. But don't sleep on LeBron. He still has a ton of talent around him (Thomas, Crowder, Kevin Love, J.R. Smith, Derrick Rose and Kyle Korver among others) and there's a rumor it's only a matter of time before the Chicago Bulls give them Dwyane Wade. LeBron gets what he wants and he always wants to be in the NBA Finals.

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It was estimated that about 1,500 people showed up in front of the NFL's headquarters in New York this week to protest the fact that Colin Kaepernick is not on a NFL roster. That is about as many people that usually walk around that area each and every day even without a protest rally. Of course Kaepernick didn't show up — he remains the quietest protest leader in the history of social activism — and the NFL didn't address the crowd. The question nobody seems to want to address, though, is why the NFL would blackball Kaepernick. Is it because he sat down during the anthem? A lot of players have sat down. Is it because he is black? The vast majority of the players that have protested during the anthem are black. Is it because Kaepernick started the protests? The protests are continuing even with Kaepernick out of the league and are more frequent than ever. If the NFL wanted to end the anthem protests, or at least draw attention away from them, all they have to do is give Kaepernick a job.

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Say what you want about the Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor freak show. But you can't say it is boring. McGregor is a street brawler with nothing to lose. Mayweather has everything to lose, including an undefeated record and his status as one of the greatest fighters in the history of boxing. The sport of boxing would be turned into a laughingstock if Mayweather, one of its greatest champions, loses a boxing match to a martial arts fighter. That would be like the Golden State Warriors losing a basketball game to five guys who once drained a shot from half court at halftime of a NBA game. It's difficult to imagine Mayweather losing on Saturday but if he does boxing will be on life support, if it isn't already.A