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Nevada Wolf Pack Preview 2022: Previewing, predicting, and looking ahead to the Nevada season with what you need to know and keys to the season.
Nevada Wolf Pack Preview
Head Coach: Ken Wilson, 1st year at Nevada,
2021 Preview: Overall: 8-5, Conference: 5-3
Offense, Defense Breakdown | Keys To The Season
Season Prediction, What Will Happen
Nevada Top 10 Players | Nevada Schedule
Nevada Wolf Pack Preview 2022
There are overhauls, and there’s what Nevada has to go though.
You’ll have to forgive the program if it feels a tad bit disrespected. It’s one thing to lose your head coach to some big massive job, but Jay Norvell took off for Colorado State. It might have been a decent pay day and a difference in facilities, but that’s staying in house.
Worse than that, in a transfer portal world he took a whole lot of key players with him to Fort Collins.
In comes Ken Wilson, a first time head coach who lived Nevada football as a key assistant – and working partly in the athletic director’s office – for over 20 years before spending in the Pac-12 as linebacker coach for Washington State and then Oregon.
He has a total overhaul to deal with, there are wholesale changes on both sides of the ball, and the transfer portal will make this one of the most inexperienced teams in the country – at least when it comes to returning starters.
Don’t get comfortable with too many positions here. It’s going to take all fall camp to get everything in place.
Nevada Wolf Pack Preview 2022: Offense
The offense bombed away last year with QB Carson Strong and WR Romeo Doubs forming one of the most dangerous combinations in the country. The O was sixth in the nation in passing, didn’t turn the ball over that much, and managed to do a whole lot of big things including a 52-10 win over that Colorado State team. There will still be a passing game, but …
The Wolf Pack won’t even come close to the 4,511 yards and 38 touchdowns of last year. Nate Cox was the No. 2 man last year, and the 6-9, 225-pounder gave it a run in the bowl clunker against Western Michigan, but on the way is dangerous Oklahoma State transfer Shane Illingworth, a big bomber who’ll get every shot at taking over.
Doubs, TE Cole Turner, new San Jose State Spartan Justin Lockhart, and Colorado State Rams Tory Horton and Melquan Stovall combined for 285 catches for close to 2,300 yards and 29 touchdowns. But all is not lost.
Nevada got BJ Casteel from Arizona – he came up with 90 catches in four years in Tucson – and added TE Cooper Shults from Oregon among other new transfers to fill in with a few decent veterans.
The ground attack should be used a bit more with all-around talent Toa Taua back for his fifth year. He and Devonte Lee form one of the Mountain West’s better – and more experienced – 1-2 punches.
Now the O line has to go to work. Aaron Frost is the one key holdover at one guard spot, but this is going to be all about the transfer portal working into the starting five mix.
Nevada Wolf Pack Preview 2022: Defense
The defense had a whole lot of nice parts, and now they’re almost all gone. The pass rush was great, there were plenty of takeaways, and there were times when this group did more than just hold serve. Just a few starters are back, but this is a surprisingly veteran defense full of upperclassmen.
Dom Peterson is one of the best returning players in the Mountain West. The four-year producer at tackle will play more of an end in the 4-2-5 style with decent bulk inside around 310-pound Liberty transfer William Green.
The linebacking corps needs the transfers to help the cause. There’s not a lot of returning experience and little to no size. On the plus side, this group can move, and no one head coach Ken Wilson knows how to coach up the linebackers.
The secondary got a big signing with Michigan transfer Darion Warren-Green came over. He’s got one corner job all to himself, and the safety trio of Tyson Williams, Bentlee Sanders and JoJuan Claiborne might be the team’s big early strength.
Nevada Wolf Pack: Keys To The Season, Top Game, Top Transfer, Fun Stats NEXT
Nevada Wolf Pack: Keys To The Season, Top Game, Top Transfer, Fun Stats
Nevada Wolf Pack: Key To The 2022 Offense
Be much, much better in pass protection.
For all of the good things Nevada did last year, the offensive line wasn’t strong enough. Yes, it’s not a plus to have to do over the front five with just one returning starter, but no, it’s not the end of the world considering the problems.
Granted, former QB Carson Strong ran like he was stuck in mud, and the bulk passing led to a lot of sacks, but Nevada gave up 89 tackles for loss to go along with the 45 sacks allowed. By comparison, just a few years ago, the 2018 O line allowed 16 sacks.
Nevada Wolf Pack: Key To The 2022 Defense
Keep forcing the takeaways.
There might be a whole lot of turnover on the defensive side, but there’s enough experience and enough decent options from the transfer portal to be okay. The key is to overcome the various mistakes and problems with lots and lots of takeaways.
Last year’s defense came up with 27 turnovers as the team finished a whopping +16 in turnover margin – No. 1 in the nation. It’s asking a lot to do that again, but Nevada was 6-1 when forcing multiple takeaways.
It’ll take more chances and more pressure in the backfield to keep this going, but the mindset from last year has to stay.
Nevada Wolf Pack: Key Player To The 2022 Season
QB Nate Cox, Sr.
Or junior Shane Illingworth from Oklahoma State. With all the changes and all the new personnel on both sides of the ball, the ship needs to be steadied at quarterback. Carson Strong was a brilliant bomber, and Nevada isn’t regenerating that fun.
However, the two giant quarterbacks can sling the ball around. Cox has a big arm and a little experience, and Illingworth was supposed to be the main man as a big recruit for Mike Gundy before Spencer Sanders grew into the role.
Nevada Wolf Pack: Key Transfer
WR BJ Casteel, Sr.
Michigan corner Darion Green-Warren has the talent to turn out to be the biggest new guy of the bunch, but Casteel will make a massive impact, too, only as the outside receiver on an offense that desperately needs playmaking receivers.
Casteel caught 90 passes and four touchdowns in four seasons at Arizona, but he didn’t get the steadiest of quarterback situations to help the cause. Now his job will be to be a No. 1 guy from the start, and he’s got the upside to do it.
Nevada Key Game To The 2022 Season
Colorado State, Oct. 8
It’s always the dumbest sports-cliché when a fan base says something about a one-win season being a success if that one win is against the rival or a certain team, but this year, that might be true.
There are more than enough winnable games for the Wolf Pack to have a decent season, but none of those matter compared to date in early October when all the defectors at Colorado State come back into town.
There’s a two-week time to rest up and let the hype get rolling. For head coach Ken Wilson, this is about as must-win a game as it’s going to get.
Nevada Wolf Pack: 2021 Fun Stats
– 3rd Quarter Scoring: Nevada 144 – Opponents 62
– Penalties: Nevada 85 for 716 yards – Opponents 68 for 643 yards
– Fumbles: Opponents 25 (lost 13) – Nevada 10 (lost 2)
Nevada Wolf Pack Season Prediction, What Will Happen NEXT
Nevada Wolf Pack Season Prediction, What Will Happen
There’s SO much turnover and SO many parts of this puzzle that have to be put together.
No team in college football has to fill most spots or change things up as much as Nevada, but the strange part after all the losses to Colorado State – and through other places through the transfer portal – is that this is a relatively experienced team and older than it might seem.
This is going to be a salty team full of grown-ups ready to prove that this season can be something strong in the reboot.
Set The Nevada Wolf Pack Regular Season Win Total At … 6
A 3-0 start is a must against at New Mexico State, Texas State, and Incarnate Word. After that, it’s going to be a tough run with some of the winnable games – like Hawaii and San Jose State – on the road.
On the plus side, the biggest conference game are in Reno with San Diego State, Boise State, and Fresno State all having to come to Mackay.
Between the road trip to UNLV, the home date against Colorado State, and some of the gettable road dates, Nevada should be able to grind its way to three conference wins to get bowling, but it’s not going to be easy.