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WAC Spring College Football Practice Update

College football players started reporting for spring practices over the past few weeks, meaning it’s time to take a look at the programs and see what we can expect in the fall. Let’s start by taking a look at the teams in the WAC and then be sure to take a look at our 2010 NCAA football preview. See something you like or dislike in the WAC spring update? Be sure to discuss it on one of the many great WAC forums listed in our NCAA message board directory.


Boise State

  • This is perhaps the most veteran team in the country heading into 2010 as a whopping 20 starters return from last year’s team. However, there is a concern at filling the open corner spot formerly occupied by All-American and 1st round pick Kyle Wilson. Ebo Makinde impressed this spring with his athleticism but the spot will be up for grabs in the fall.

  • QB Kellen Moore is known for his excellent accuracy, so his struggles in the spring were a major surprise for the Broncos. Moore had a lot of trouble throughout camp and his progress in the fall practices leading up to the season will be scrutinized; It was really that bad.

  • Of course, part of the cause for Moore’s issues might be the play of Boise’s strong defensive line. While the O-Line was trying to come up with a consistent lineup instead of the patchwork crew that has rotated throughout the past year, the D-Line simply kept showing a nose for the football. Maybe Moore’s only problem was playing against a defense as good as the one wearing the same jersey as him.

Fresno State

  • Sophomore Rob Rouse had a really strong spring and appears all set to take over at tailback for 1st round draft pick Ryan Matthews. Rouse was a solid backup last year but he’s added bulk and will be the Bulldogs’ three down back in 2010.

  • Continuing Fresno’s strong performance against the pass was a priority (especially considering that their poor run defense isn’t looking significantly upgraded) and the emergence of sophomore Phil Thomas and redshirt frosh L.J. Jones should allow the Bulldog defense to continue to give opposing aerial assaults fits in 2010.

  • But did I mention how bad their run defense was? The one that allowed an average of 215 yards per game last season? Needless to say, Head Coach Pat Hill made fixing that his top priority in camp, working on his now-veteran front four to be more stout all spring. However, the Bulldog tailbacks still were solid in camp so we’ll have to wait unti the fall to see if Hill made any headway towards slowing down opponents.


  • Quarterback Bryant Moniz missed the spring and will have to earn his starting job back in the fall after Shane Austin impressed during his absence. The Warriors will need to find a solid starter after struggling with inconsistency at times last season.

  • Hawai’i’s defense struggled with injuries throughout the spring, especially in the secondary. Head Coach Greg McMackin cautioned fans not to draw too much from their Spring Game as many players were out with injuries, making it difficult to properly evaluate the team’s progress.


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  • The top priority for Idaho this spring was to replace four starters from the offensive line that took the Vandals to their first bowl game in over a decade. Junior left tackle Matt Cleveland is the only returning starter and the coaching staff spent much of the spring trying out new line combinations. However, no one aside from Cleveland has earned a spot and the line won’t be decided until the fall.

  • The clear strength of this team will be the passing attack, where five upperclassmen return with double digits catches from 2009. More importantly, starting quarterback Nate Enderle, who powered the country’s 12th rated pass offense last year, had another spring to develop chemistry with his wideouts. Expect another big offensive year in Moscow.

Louisiana Tech

  • Practice was a three week feeling out process for new Head Coach Sonny Dykes. While his staff went about installing a new offensive scheme, they also got to know their players’ strengths and weaknesses. Three of the Bulldogs’ practices were solely devoted to installing the new offense! Needless to say, there is still a lot to be learned in Ruston.

  • One position that Dykes was pleased was his offensive line. Three seniors and two sophomores distanced themselves from the rest of the pack to earn starting nods and Dykes was happy with their progress and athletic ability.

  • Former Tennessee Vol Lennon Creer established himself as Tech’s top tailback with a stellar spring showing, capped off with a 140 yard, 2 touchdown effort in the Spring Game. Expect Creer to carry the ball a ton this fall.


  • The Wolfpack’s defensive progress could be stifled by the potential suspension of starting safety Duke Williams, who reportedly was part of a group that assaulted fellow defensive back Marlon Johnson. Even if charges aren’t filed, it sure doesn’t bode well for team chemistry when two players in the two-deep are immersed in such a public feud.

  • Nevada has produced one of the country’s most lethal ground games in each of the past two seasons but there was a different tone in camp this spring; a passing game began to emerge! Junior Colin Kaepernick has enough experience and a enough talented receivers to make the transition work and if the Pack ends up with a solid passing game on top of their lethal ground attack then this team could challenge Boise and Fresno for the WAC Championship.

  • Head Coach Chris Ault was visibly pleased with the arrival of JUCO transfer Rishard Matthews, who led junior college players in punt return average last season. Nevada’s special teams have been pretty bad the past few seasons so Matthews could be a game breaker for an already dangerous offense. Can you imagine Kaepernick and company on a short field?

New Mexico State

  • NMSU has to replace all three starting linebackers and their top reserve in 2010 and it appears that JUCO transfer Frank Padilla will occupy the strongside alongside Boyblue Aoelua (middle linebacker) and redshirt sophomore B.J. Adolpho.

  • Tight End Kyle Nelson was impressive catching passes in the Spring and appeared to develop chemistry with both candidates to start at quarterback. Nelson could be a big option in the fall.

  • Speaking of quarterbacks, Jeff Fleming and JUCO transfer Matt Christian displayed a strong grasp of the offense during practice. With their evolving skills, there seems to be a belief that the Aggies will drop back and pass the ball more in 2010.

San Jose State

  • New coach Mike McIntyre has instituted a major philosophical change in his first spring, moving away from the wide open spread and focusing on running the ball between the tackles. Expect the Spartans to make their mark this fall as a smash-mouth football team and try to keep their defense well-rested with a ball control offense.

  • Incumbent QB Jordan La Secla had to earn his starting spot once more this spring and he appeared to do so with flying colors, outstripping Matt Faulkner and Dasmen Stewart by a clear margin. Expect La Secla to officially get the nod in August.

  • One concern was the health of the D-Line, where Mohamed Marah struggled with injuries all camp and Joe Nigos missed the spring game. Both are expected to make big contributions this fall and the Spartans can’t afford to miss either for any period of time due to a lack of depth.



Utah State

  • The Aggies had a philosophical shift forced upon them with the knee injury to star tailback Robert Turbin. What they found was that their receiving corps appears ready for a significantly improved season after abysmal production in 2009. QB Diondre Borel has two major burners available in Dontel Watkins and Xavier Martin and Stanley Morrison has been touted as a potential star. Expect USU to sling the ball around this fall.

  • Protected Borel will be a priority and the O-Line appears to still have some work to do. However, freshman center Tyler Larson performed extremely well in practice and appears ready to start for the Aggies this fall.

  • DE Maxim Dinka-Mba’s size belies the speed which he possesses coming off of the edge. Dinka-Mba showed a good burst and a nose for the football this spring and will be counted on to supplement an improved pass rush. His emergence is a godsend as the secondary is still in flux.



By Matt Baxendell
CollegeSports-fans.com Staff Writer



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