New coach sees some sloppy play

RENO - Four interceptions. Three failed conversions. Four sacks allowed.

At times, Nevada's annual Silver vs. Blue intersquad football game on Friday in Mackay Stadium looked very similar to the Wolf Pack games from the 1999 season, which left Nevada with a disappointing 2-4 record in the Big West Conference and Jeff Tisdel seeking another coaching job.

Fortunately for Nevada, one of the Pack's teams had to win. The Blue, led by first-string quarterback David Neill and most of Nevada's anticipated starting offensive players, beat the Silver 19-14 in the game which marked the conclusion of spring drills. Nevada opens its 2000 season on Sept. 2 with a game at Oregon.

"I thought it was pretty sloppy," said Chris Tormey, the Pack's first-year coach, formerly of Idaho. "We've got to take better care of the football. Our No. 1 offense (Blue) turned the ball over four times, three times in the first half alone. That's a concern.

"The great thing is that this is spring practice. It's April, not September, so we've got a chance to do something about (the turnovers). Hopefully, we'll learn from this, come back, and get better every time we go out."

Although Neill was only 4-for-10, he made impressive plays when needed. He threw a 56-yard pass to Aaron Carter for the Blue's first score and was 2-for-3 for 48 yards on the game-winning fourth-quarter drive for the Blue, which culminated with a 4-yard touchdown run by Marquis Starks.

Starks, who finished the game with 55 yards on 11 carries, was one of three Pack running backs who looked good during the scrimmage and could create some healthy competition at that position. Johnnie Holmes had 143 yards on 10 rushes and Adrien Dugas recorded 123 yards on 12 carries.

"Dugas is the most experienced player we have, but he needs to do a better job of protecting the football, and I believe he will," Tormey said. "But I thought Holmes and Starks also looked really good at times today."

Friday's game also allowed Tormey to take his first look at several Carson Country players in action. On the roster for the game were local players Raymond Sanchez (Carson High), Victor Sam (Yerington), Chad Satterwhite (Galena) and Garrett Anderson (Douglas).

Of those players, Sanchez (battling with Mike Phillips to become the Pack's No. 1 place kicker) was the most visible during Friday's game. He narrowly missed a 52-yard field goal for the Silver with two seconds remaining in the first half.

Despite the miss, Sanchez, who made a 49-yarder two weeks ago in a Pack scrimmage, said he's never felt better when kicking.

"Right now is the best I've ever kicked in my life," said the 5-foot-9, 170 pound sophomore. "I'm hitting the ball well, so spring practice has gone really good. Mike and I are right there (for No. 1) - we've talked to the coaches and they say it's going to come down to the last practices."

Sanchez said a 52-yarder was well within his range.

"The miss was just one of those things - I was trying to kick it too hard and hit the ground," Sanchez said. "I was just trying to overdo it and I overdid it."

Tormey did not tip his hand as to who would be the Pack's top place kicker, but he said Sanchez had a very good spring.

"Ray has been consistent, has been working hard in the weight room, and has done a good job for us," Tormey said.

Sam, a 6-2, 307-pound offensive guard, is currently third on the Pack's depth chart. The only Carson Country athlete on the winning Blue side, he said he was satisfied with his performance.

"When I got in, I thought I did pretty good," Sam said, whose only disappointment was with the high number of turnovers despite the fact they weren't the line's fault. "We suffer as an entire offense - a turnover is a turnover."

Satterwhite appeared in one series for the Silver, but he did not complete a pass.

The Blue vs. Silver game at Mackay marked the first time since 1997 that the game was not played in Carson Country. The 1998 game was played at Carson High and the 1999 game was played in Yerington.

Notes: Seniors Josh Smith and Adrien Dugas and juniors David Neill and Horacio Leyva were named Nevada's captains for the 2000 season The game was the final for the Pack on natural grass at Mackay Stadium, as it will be replaced with artificial turf this spring. Judging from the condition of the grass on Friday, the Pack players will welcome the new surface Mo Jones, once a starting quarterback for the Pack, looked good at the wide receiver on Friday. He caught a 22-yard pass from Zack Threadgill for the Silver's first score. On playing in the Western Athletic Conference this fall, Jones said, "It'll be fun to get our name out in the national spotlight."

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