Joe Santoro: Wolf Pack deserves top ranking in WAC preseason polls
Sierra Nevada Media Group
Nevada coach Chris Ault said Wednesday at the Western Athletic Conferenceand#8217;s football media gathering in Salt Lake City that the Wolf Pack will and#8220;throw the ball more than in the past.and#8221; Believe him if you want to. First of all, why would Ault tell the rest of the conference what he plans to do on offense? And, second, is he losing his mind? Kaepernick just might be the best running quarterback in the nation. Standing behind him are two of the top running backs in the nation in Vai Taua and Luke Lippincott. Throwing the ball with accuracy is not exactly Kaepernickand#8217;s strong suit. This yearand#8217;s team will also feature what just might be the most inexperienced wide receiver group Ault has ever had. And, donand#8217;t forget, a ball-control, clock-eating, ground-game-based offense is the best way to keep that porous, cover-your-eyes Pack defense off the field. So why, exactly, would the Pack throw more?
. . .
The WAC coaches and media both picked Boise State first, the Wolf Pack second and Fresno State third (are there other teams in the football conference?) in their meaningless preseason polls. We understand why the coaches would do that sort of thing. Coaches (the few who actually do vote and donand#8217;t pawn it off to their overworked sports information director) simply vote for the team that won the year before. OK, fine. Coaches have better things to do. But the media should be a little more creative. How about Nevada first, Boise State second and Fresno third? This is the Packand#8217;s year. Itand#8217;s time.
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Ault challenged his defense at his press conference on Wednesday, saying that is the unit that will determine how many gray hairs fall off his head this fall. Well, no kidding. But letand#8217;s take it a step further. Weand#8217;re not worried about the defensive line, not with Dontay Moch and Kevin Basped. And the linebackers were young last year and will be no doubt be better. But what about that secondary? Thatand#8217;s the area that will determine whether this team wins seven or eight games again or makes the jump to Boise territory and wins 10 or 11.
. . .
Baseball commissioner Bud Selig said this week that he is not considering whether or not to lift the lifetime ban of Pete Rose from the game. Bud, let it go. Rose has been punished enough. Betting on the sport is wrong. Nobody denies that. But isnand#8217;t a 20-year suspension enough of a punishment? Rose deserves a second chance. Having Pete Rose back in uniform managing a team as well as standing on the steps at Cooperstown giving his Hall of Fame acceptance speech would be the best thing to happen to the game since Cal Ripken broke Lou Gehrigand#8217;s record. Baseball needs Rose and Rose needs baseball.
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The New York Times is reporting that David Ortiz was one of the 100 or so players who tested positive for using performance enhancing drugs in 2003. Shocked? Of course not. There had to be a reason why Ortiz blossomed overnight from being a platoon player with the Minnesota Twins into one of the gameand#8217;s dominant sluggers with the Boston Red Sox. Now that Ortiz and Manny Ramirez have both been proven to be cheaters, are you still proud of that 2004 World Series title, Red Sox fans?
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Itand#8217;s fun to be a San Francisco Giants fan again. Finally. General manager Brian Sabean deserves the Executive of the Year award for going out and getting Ryan Garko and Freddie Sanchez this week. OK, we understand that Garko and Sanchez arenand#8217;t exactly Willie McCovey and Jeff Kent, but isnand#8217;t it nice to know that the Giants are actually trying to win now? When was the last time we could say that?
. . .
Does anybody really believe this is the last weand#8217;ll hear about Brett Favre returning to the field? Favre insists he is retired but weand#8217;ve heard that song before. The Minnesota Vikings will be 2-4 in late October, Favre will start firing passes to high school kids down in Mississippi and before you know it, Mr. Wrangler Jeans will be in Minneapolis wearing a purple helmet. The Vikings, by the way, will play the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on Nov. 1. Two weeks of practice time should be enough.
and#8212; Joe Santoro writes a weekly sports column for the Sierra Nevada Media Group.
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