FS Keone Kauo

2002 Statistics

Coach: Chris Tormey
10-25, 3 years
2002 Record: 5-7
at Washington State LOST 7-31
RICE WON 31-21
at UNLV LOST 17-21
at Hawaii LOST 34-59
at Louisiana Tech LOST 47-50
at SMU WON 24-6
UTEP WON 23-17
at Fresno State LOST 30-38

2002 Final Rankings
AP-UR, Coaches-UR, BCS-UR

2003 Outlook

The Wolf Pack pulled off a major upset against Brigham Young, or it was at least considered an upset at the time. BYU struggled in the Mountain West - the Cougars just weren't that good. Nevada came close to upsetting a good Colorado State team at home, then lost to a mediocre UNLV team on the road.

Once conference play started, the Wolf Pack performed just about as expected, losing to the tough teams and beating the ones which were expected to struggle. The last two games, at Fresno State and at Boise State, showed Tormey just how much farther his teams need to go to compete in this conference.

Simply put - this isn't the Big West. Nevada allowed 82 points in the final two games, this after the two best defensive outings of the year against SMU and UTEP. The Wolf Pack must get bigger, faster stronger and more athletic, especially on defense, to compete in the WAC. They aren't there yet. You can expect more of the same. Nevada will beat the poorer teams if Rowe can develop into an effective starter, then lose to the better teams. A .500 record after 5-7 may be viewed as progress.

But real progress can't be quantified until the Wolf Pack start to knock off some of the conference's better teams.The test of that comes in the final month, when Fresno State and Hawaii come calling, and Nevada travels to Boise State. A finesse team, which you have to call the Wolf Pack, isn't going to beat those three physical teams often.

Projected 2003 record: 4-8
RB Chance Kretschmer
QB - 2 DL - 2
RB - 3.5 LB - 2.5
WR - 2.5 DB - 2.5
OL - 3.5 ..

Passing: Jeff Rowe, 26-17-0, 138 yds., 1 TD

Rushing: Matt Milton, 225 att., 1108 yds., 9 TD

Receiving: Tim Fleming, 39 rec., 430 yds., 3 TD

Scoring: Damon Fine, 10-17 FG, 35-38 PAT, 65 pts.

Punting: Derek Jones, 63 punts, 40.9 avg.

Kicking: Damon Fine, 10-17 FG, 35-38 PAT, 65 pts.

Tackles: Keone Kauo, 85 tot., 51 solo

Sacks: Jorge Cordova, 9 sacks

Interceptions: Keone Kauo, 4 for 34 yds.

Kickoff returns: Ronnie Hardiman, 22 ret., 22.8 avg.

Punt returns: Marlon McLaughlin, 22 ret., 4.8 avg.


OFFENSE: Zack Threadgill-QB, Nate Burleson-WR, Cody Johnson-C, Erick Streelman-TE
DEFENSE: Paul Jolley-ROV, Domonic Cruz-CB

written by Boyce Garrison

At Nevada, the nighttime parties won't be at the frat houses. They'll be taking place at Mackay Stadium. For the first time, the Wolf Pack's home will have lights, which should lead to more television appearances and let people outside Nevada realize there's more to this area than casinos and scenic mountains.

Head Coach Chris Tormey's team will be an experienced group, with the exception of two key positions - quite possibly the two most important in this multi-faceted attack. How do you replace a quarterback who threw for 3,418 yards, 26 touchdowns during a 5-7 season? And how do you replace the nation's leading receiver, a Biletnikoff Award finalist who caught 138 passes for 1,629 yards and 12 touchdowns? Under Tormey, it seems Nevada always moves the football. He might have been a linebacker in his playing days, but Tormey's teams have always been explosive.

Nevada ranked 11th nationally in total offense at 434 yards a game, 296 of that through the air. Sophomore Jeff Rowe will get first crack to replace the departed Zack Threadgill. Rowe played in six games and carried himself well, completing 17-of-26 with a touchdown and no picks. But that's a far cry from replacing Threadgill's gaudy numbers.

And who will catch all those passes in this high-powered offense now that Nate Burleson is gone? The candidates are many, most notably sophomore Nichiren Flowers, who has a chance to blossom now that Burleson's considerable shadow isn't around. Senior Tim Fleming is the most experienced, but he's no breakaway threat with just three touchdowns and an 11.0-yard average for his 39 catches. Perhaps more intriguing is the scheduled return of bulldozer Chance Kretschmer, a freshman All-American in 2001. The 6-foot-2, 226-pounder led the nation in rushing with 1,732 yards two years ago - only the second freshman ever to do so, duplicating the feat of some guy named Marshall Faulk. Kretschmer, a former walk-on, suffered a torn ACL that ended his season after only two games in 2002. If he's back to anything approaching his 2001 form, Nevada will be tough to stop.

In his place last season, the Wolf Pack found another freshman to run the ball. Matt Milton, almost as big as Kretschmer but with more speed, was able to take some of the heat off Threadgill to the tune of 1,134 yards. With Milton, a healthy Kretschmer and speedster B.J. Mitchell, they might give Rowe a fighting chance of developing.

Also playing a big part in that, of course, will be the offensive line. And that's just where Nevada's biggest offensive strength may lie. Only the center position will be manned by a player with fewer than a season's worth of starts, and senior Steve Church had five starts there. Harvey Dahl, John Tennert and Isaiah Ross have started for two seasons and Chris Hines started all of 2002. Opponents found their way to Wolf Pack quarterbacks only 22 times.

If Rowe can establish himself, the bright lights have a chance to shine on the Wolf Pack.


WR Tim Fleming


Returning Starters in bold
QB Jeff Rowe-So Travis Moore-Fr
RB Chance Kretschmer-Jr Matt Milton-So
WR Nichiren Flowers-So Buddy Lewis-Sr
WR Maurice Mann-Sr Willie Johnson-Jr
WR Tim Fleming-Sr Del McGee-Jr
TE Tony Moll-So Anthony Pudewell-So
OT Alan Parker-Sr Adam Kiefer-So
OG Chris Hines-Jr John Tennert-Jr
C Kyle Gosselin-So Steve Church-Sr
OG Isaiah Ross-Sr Dan Tennert-So
OT Harvey Dahl-Jr Adam Kiefer-So
K Damon Fine-Jr ..



written by Boyce Garrison

If experience means anything, the Nevada defense will take a step up. Ten returning starters should translate into a better unit. Of course, that begs the question: What if those 10 players just aren't that good?

Opponents waltzed through the Wolf Pack defense as though they were on water skis at Lake Tahoe. The numbers weren't pretty: 92, 92, 97 and 87. Those are Nevada's national rankings in rushing defense, pass efficiency defense, total defense and scoring defense. Allowing over 30 points a game and 6.2 yards per play isn't going to win many games.

There is hope, most notably in the ability of senior defensive end Jorge Cordova. Among his 54 tackles were 14 tackles for loss and a conference-leading nine sacks. The converted middle linebacker is on the preseason Nagurski Trophy watch list. His speed gives opposing tackles plenty of problems on the edge.

Part of last season's woes was that no one else could find their way to the quarterback. The defense accounted for only 12 other sacks. That lack of pressure is a key contributor to the fact that the secondary recorded only nine interceptions. Add that to a front seven which allowed 4.7 yards per rush and you have a recipe for long Saturdays on the field and longer Sundays watching all the missed assignments and tackles during the film session. Most good defensive teams boast one or two players with 100 or more tackles, and usually one of those is a linebacker. The Wolf Pack's leader in that category was free safety Keone Kauo, who also led the team with four interceptions. The Wolf Pack needed him in the box for an eighth man to stop the run and that hurt the secondary's cover ability.The unit allowed 30 or more points on six occasions, over 40 three times and more than 50 twice. Only twice did Nevada hold a team under 20 points. Five of the 10 returning starters (most in the conference) are seniors, led by Cordova and middle linebacker Daryl Towns. Senior Carl LaGrone can be better. He must be. Sophomore corner Chris Handy was an All-WAC freshman, as selected by the Sporting News, which also tabbed sophomore inside linebacker Logan Carter as the conference's freshman defender of the year, so there's hope in some spots.

It's hard to tell whether the defense's dominance in the first couple of spring scrimmages was a sign of improvement or the sophomore quarterback taking time to get his feet under him. It's always been hard to recruit top athletes to the WAC and it's even harder to get top defensive players, given the conference's reputation for offense, even in the year after the defection of the schools which formed the Mountain West. When WAC teams get special players, they tend to put them on offense.

What to do? A little more speed and a little more bulk would do wonders. The probable starters along the defensive line average only 271 pounds and don't appear big enough to keep offensive linemen off the linebackers so they can be free to roam and make plays. Only the 294-pound Derek Kennard has the size to take on more than one blocker at a time.

The linebackers average 225 pounds, decent, but not anything to shout about. No one in the secondary weighs more than 195 pounds. But the Wolf Pack must play the hand it's been dealt and hope that extra experience, albeit in a losing season, pays dividends.


DE Jorge Cordova


Returning Starters in bold
DE Jorge Cordova-Sr Keenan Curtis-Sr
DT Derek Kennard-Sr P.J. Hoeper-So
DT Chris Barry-Jr Tim Sylvester-So
DE J.J. Milan-So Craig Bailey-So
LB Daryl Towns-Sr Shaun Tagatauli-Jr
LB Logan Carter-So J.D. Morscheck-Sr
LB Carl LaGrone-Sr Chad Conley-Sr
CB Ali Jones-Sr Chris Handy-So
CB Marlon McLaughlin-Jr Randy Landingham-So
ROV Ronnie Hardiman-Sr Ekene Agwuenu-Jr
FS Keone Kauo-Jr Tyrone Rackley-Sr
P Derek Jones-Sr ..




Nevada's kicking game is in capable hands. Junior Place-kicker Damon Fine could be a little more accurate than his 10-of-17 field goals a year ago, although he has plenty of leg, enough to nail a school record 58-yard field goal.

Derek Jones returns for his fourth year as the starting punter. The senior averaged 40.9 yards, and he's gotten better every year.

The Wolf Pack's coverage teams were excellent, but the coaches are looking for better output on punt and kickoff returns.