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StarBulletin.com

Nevada quarterback Kaepernick keeps defenses guessing


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POSTED: Saturday, August 29, 2009

EIGHTH IN A SERIES

Colin Kaepernick commands attention.

Whether he's striding into a room or onto the field, eyes tend to shift to the 6-foot-6, 215-pound Nevada quarterback.

“;He's now grown to about 10 feet tall; he's an intimidating presence,”; Louisiana Tech coach Derek Dooley said after meeting up with Kaepernick at the Western Athletic Conference Football Preview last month. “;I told him he's a fun player to watch except for one Saturday a year.”;

Kaepernick's command of Nevada's pistol offense has the Wolf Pack aiming for lofty goals in his junior season.

He earned WAC offensive player of the year honors last season, when he rushed for 1,130 yards and 17 touchdowns and passed for 2,849 yards and 22 scores.

After sitting out spring practice while recovering from an ankle injury he suffered in last year's Roady's Humanitarian Bowl, Kaepernick spent his summer polishing his passing skills to further enhance his dual-threat abilities.

               

     

 

UH SCHEDULE

       

       

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
FridayCentral Arkansas
Sept. 12at Washington State
Sept. 19at UNLV
Sept. 30at Louisiana Tech
Oct. 10Fresno State
Oct. 17at Idaho
Oct. 24Boise State
Oct. 31at Nevada
Nov. 7Utah State
Nov. 14New Mexico State
Nov. 21at San Jose State
Nov. 28Navy
Dec. 5Wisconsin

       

 

       

       

“;The more I've been throwing, the more consistent I've gotten with throwing all the different routes, throwing touch balls, deep balls,”; Kaepernick said. “;Accuracy has been a big thing for me. I want to be able to put the ball wherever I want it.”;

Kaepernick leads an offense that also returns the WAC's last two rushing champions.

Vai Taua ranked eighth in the country with 1,521 yards last season, averaging 117 per game. He's joined by Luke Lippincott, who ran for 1,420 yards in 2007, and was awarded another year of eligibility after missing most of last season with a knee injury.

The Wolf Pack receiver corps is relatively green. Junior Chris Wellington is the team's top returnee with 42 receptions for 632 yards and six touchdowns.

“;(Kaepernick's) the pivotal point, there no question,”; Nevada coach Chris Ault said. “;But it's the guys around him. They've got to relieve that focus on Kap and produce.”;

While the offense's firepower has ignited heightened expectations, evidenced by a second-place showing in the WAC preseason polls, the Wolf Pack's title aspirations hinge on improvement on defense.

Nevada ranked last in the country in pass defense last season, allowing 311.6 yards per game and 31 touchdowns through the air.

“;I feel we owe it because last season the offense really came through and defense kind of fell short,”; said safety Jonathon Amaya, one of eight returning starters on defense.

“;It's really good motivation on the defensive side to make that improvement and get to the next level, to get our team as a whole to where we need to be.”;

The Pack's pass rush could take some pressure off the secondary. Defensive end Dontay Moch had 17 tackles for loss, including 11 1/2 sacks, last season. On the other side, Kevin Basped had 18 1/2 stops behind the line of scrimmage and 10 sacks.

Nevada opens the season with a trip to Notre Dame on Sept. 5.