PREVIEW OF HAWAII OPPONENTS
The young man knew he was in Reno on business, and he successfully avoided the Nevada gambling city's temptations. But he did take his competition lightly.
No more takingHitting time for UH
Chang confident he'll be ready Aug. 31SIXTH OF 13 PARTS
By Dave Reardon
"We're going to kick their (butts)," the starter for the Hawaii football team said on game-day eve.
It didn't work out that way, as Nevada played one of its best games of the season and beat UH 28-20.
The Wolf Pack didn't look like any 3-8 (3-5 WAC) team on that warm Saturday in September. The Warriors get a chance for payback Oct. 12 at Aloha Stadium.
To win, UH will have to stop sophomore Chance Kretschmer (6-1, 212), who got 162 of his NCAA-leading 1,732 yards against Hawaii.
"He makes Nevada a tougher football team just by his presence. He epitomizes what we'd like to be about," Nevada coach Chris Tormey said. "He's the cornerstone of our offense."
The Pack's team goals, at least as expressed by Kretschmer on a national radio show Thursday, are rather modest. He said Nevada will be happy with winning as many games as it loses.
That ties in with Tormey's plan of improving a bit each year and building a program from the bottom up.
Nevada went 2-10 in 2000, Tormey's first season.
"The record doesn't show it, but we made a lot of progress," he said. "We won only three, but we were in a lot of games."
The Pack will be in more if their defense improves. Nevada allowed more than 40 points in five games.
With that in mind, junior linebacker Jorge Cordova (6-2, 241) was moved to defensive end, where he has more potential to wreak havoc on quarterbacks.
Tormey also expects good things from junior tackle Derek Kennard (6-1, 280) and junior linebacker Daryl Towns (6-1, 238). Junior free safety Ronnie Hardiman (6-0, 185) is also an honors candidate.
Kretschmer is not the only viable weapon on offense. Senior quarterback Zack Threadgill (6-2, 211) has a fine passing target in senior receiver Nate Burleson (6-2, 187). He's caught 110 passes in two seasons for 1,658 yards and 10 TDs. Senior center Cody Johnson (6-4, 286) leads the offensive line.
Damon Fine (5-9, 150) lived up to his name at kicker after a shaky start as a freshman last year. He kicked a 58-yard field goal against UNLV and made five three-pointers against Rice; both achievements tied school records.
Nevada is going the route of many other WAC teams in playing tough out-of-conference opponents. The Wolf Pack open at Washington State and then host Brigham Young.
"Washington State sounded like a good idea when we scheduled them two years ago," Tormey said. "Now they've got a great team with a Heisman Trophy candidate (Jason Gesser of Honolulu) at quarterback. It's a huge challenge for us."
All-time record: 438-384-33
Against Hawaii: 4-2
Now you know: Six players, including two scholarship athletes, have left the Wolf Pack a week into fall camp. Two of them are tight ends: junior Mike Luca and sophomore Shane Gillaspie. The biggest long-term loss might be freshman running back Jake Foote, who bench-pressed 365 pounds seven times, but left due to homesickness.
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