Polian not entirely to blame for Wolf Pack woes
October 28, 2016
Sports fodder for a Sunday morning . . .
Brian Polian is not to blame for everything that ails Nevada Wolf Pack football. Getting rid of the head coach will not cure everything evil and debilitating that seems to be flowing through the silver and blue veins right now. The problems started during the final two years of the Chris Ault era. Ault was a horrible coach in 2012 as his team choked away game after game. He was a Polian-like 8-9 over his last 17 games, a disturbing trend that would have only gotten worse if he had stuck around to take the pounding that a cruel schedule (UCLA, Florida State, San Diego State, Boise State and BYU) was about to heap on the Pack in 2013. Polian inherited a heap of trouble when the Pack hired him and it proved to be overwhelming for a career special teams coach to fix in just four years. Go figure.
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It is reasonable to suggest that the Wolf Pack will win three of their last four games to finish 6-6 and go to a bowl. New quarterback Ty Gangi showed last Saturday night in a 42-34 loss to Wyoming that he knows where the end zone is and knows how to bring out the best in his teammates. If Gangi plays like he did last Saturday it isn't insane to think that the Pack could beat New Mexico, UNLV and Utah State over the next month and go to a bowl. Does a 6-6 regular season, which included a win over UNLV and a bowl, get Polian a two-year extension? It should. Athletic director Doug Knuth, though, just might determine that 6-7 or 7-6 is all that Polian will ever accomplish at Nevada and it is time to return hope and promise to Mackay Stadium. Or he might want to avoid the hassle and bother of finding a new football coach right now and delay it another two years. Anything less than three wins in the last four games, though, should make Knuth's decision a simple one.
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It is time to put the career of quarterback Tyler Stewart in perspective. Stewart, whose career ended last Saturday when he injured his shoulder, was 11-11 as a Wolf Pack starter. He passed for 3,300 yards and 27 touchdowns and he even won a bowl game. Stewart, though, always seemed to be playing the position with one hand tied behind his back. The Pack didn't allow him to throw much and they rarely allowed him to run. All they asked of Stewart was that he didn't soil the carpet and he obliged, throwing just 12 interceptions in his career. He wasn't great and he wasn't bad. He was just there. And now he's gone.
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Former Wolf Pack offensive coordinator Nick Rolovich right now should be the favorite to win the Mountain West Coach of the Year award. Rolovich took over a dismal 3-10 Hawaii team and has them at 4-4right now. That record is even more impressive when you consider that three of their four losses have come against Cal, Michigan and Arizona. Rolovich's success as a head coach shouldn't come as much of a surprise. He has always been loved by his players and he is the perfect fit in Hawaii. And he paid his dues as a long-time offensive coordinator. If he was still on Polian's staff this year Knuth might have already made a coaching change.
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Don't be shocked if the World Series does not return to Cleveland. The Indians have no shot at beating the Cubs in this series unless Corey Kluber starts and wins three games. The Indians shouldn't even be in this Series. Their best player (Michael Brantley) and second best starting pitcher (Carlos Carrasco) aren't even on the active roster. And their third best starting pitcher (Danny Salazar) is reduced to pitching in relief. The Indians offense is reduced to Francisco Lindor getting on base and driving Jon Lester crazy. Cubs in five.