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Friday, September 6, 2019 10:03:35 AM

Thursday, Aug. Idaho State Bengals Provo, Utah - 3 p. ET Saturday, Nov. The Cougars have lost eight straight to the Utes and it has been 10 years since the Cougars' last victory in the series.

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Eathan O'Bryant Curtis High Drew doesn't have the pure numbers of many players on this list, but he's not a stats-driven guy.

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He's a top point guard in school history, but it'd be hard to get him into the top five. DNP-Coach's Decision. Coach Alford addressed the situation on his postgame presser, which you can watch here. Too early to tell after one exhibition game, but I think you'll see a deeper rotation of players used and better shot selection aka less of a green light to take bad shots.

Those will probably be the two biggest differences.

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And while Alford is not big on a zone defense, you'll see more of that than Musselman played, which was maybe a couple of minutes during his four seasons. Nevada was picked to finish fourth in the preseason poll, so that's basically forecasting a overall record, a mark in the MW and a postseason berth of some sort.

Jay Norvell said he has not made a decision on who will start Saturday at Wyoming but should have a decision made before Tuesday's practice. Nevada didn't practice Monday as it typically does because it got home Sunday morning and wants to give its players a little extra rest. Here's the thing: The Wolf Pack has been competitive against bad teams this season.

The other win was over Purdue, which is , and was fueled by an unsustainable plus-five turnover margin. When Nevada has faced good teams this season Oregon, Utah State, Hawaii is has been beaten by a combined points.

What do you call a team that is competitive against bad teams and gets blown out by good teams? You can that a bad team.

That's what Nevada has been so far. The good news for the Wolf Pack is it is , so it can still finish with seven or eight wins if it drastically improves its level of play or has another one of those plus-four or plus-five turnover margin games.

Most likely, Nevada will beat the bad teams, lose to the good teams and finish , which would be better than this team's true level.

The Aggies were ranked 17th in the preseason Associated Press poll, released Monday. This is just the third time in school history that the Aggies have appeared on the initial poll and the first time since the season, when USU was ranked No.

At least when Nevada lost last season, it was competitive. The Boise State and Fresno State games stick out. The Wolf Pack hung with Top caliber teams. This season, it has been blown out by Hawaii and Utah State, which are not even close to Top caliber teams.

This season has been rough, but Nevada can salvage it by playing above the level we've seen so far.

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Will that happen? As for Doritos, Nacho Cheese aka the red bag. I do like Cool Ranch, though. I didn't get the stretch run play call when you're on your own 1-yard line that ended up being a safety.

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I also didn't get running a draw play on fourth-and from the Utah State yard line that ended up being a turnover on downs. Nevada sitting at is certainly the best-case scenario given the team's level of play this season.

As I wrote after last season when everybody was crowning the new tenure as clearly better than the Brian Polian era , year three would be the big proving point as Polian's top players graduated out and the roster was full of players recruited by Coach Norvell's staff.

When everybody was saying Norvell should get an extension last year, I argued against it.

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I also would like to wait until this season is over to draw bigger conclusions. It's too easy to overreact after every game.

Wait until the big picture fills in. But last year's team was better than this year's team. That's hard to argue, so, yes, it is a step back. His seat is not warm at all. Nevada could lose out for the rest of the season and Coach Norvell would be back in Hawaii, Nevada and Fresno State should all become bowl eligible, too.

That's eight teams for five bowl tie-ins. So, yes, there's a very good chance a six-win MW team doesn't make a bowl, which happened last season with Wyoming.

I'm guessing Nevada will need to win seven games to make a bowl this year.

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It depends on how healthy he is. The line this season has been he has dealt with an "accumulation of injuries," but I get the feeling his injuries are a little more than "banged up. I think this quarterback battle is down to Strong and Henry, and I think that's fair.

And, as you mentioned, he's a senior, so you're not developing a long term quarterback if you're playing Solano.

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His broken hand in fall camp really sabotaged his chances of winning the job on a long-term basis. My thoughts are this: Nevada needs to pick one quarterback and let him play the rest of the season.

Pick the guy you believe in, the guy who has the best chance to lead Nevada to a great season in and develop him. It's not good when the head coach has to be asked every Monday who will start at quarterback that weekend. I've been saying this for the last two years, much to the chagrin of some Wolf Pack personnel, but I just don't think the merging of a power run game and the Air Raid passing attack is the best way to optimize a Group of 5 offense.

I think you have to go one route or the other. Without doing so, you're going to lack an identity. It's hard to recruit to two very different schemes at this level, which is what Nevada is trying to do with its "Air Pistol. This is a multi-year issue. So does Nevada regroup after the season and make systemic changes to its scheme or does it pin the blame for the offensive issues on personnel namely quarterback and offensive line and try and do the same thing next season?

That's only a question Norvell can answer. I would make bigger changes and pick an offensive path.

I asked Coach Norvell about that after the Hawaii game and he said he wasn't going to do it and added he's already pretty involved in play-calling.

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