Shorthanded Wolf Pack gets ready for Quick Lane Bowl

Published: Dec. 20, 2021 at 5:52 PM PST
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - For the last two weeks all news surrounding the Nevada football team has been everything but the play on the field.

Jay Norvell is now ‘former head coach Jay Norvell.’ The majority of the assistant coaches are also gone along with nearly a dozen players.

But the 2021 season isn’t over with. The pieces left from this team still have to get ready for the Quick Lane Bowl in Detroit next Monday.

“All odds are against us anyways,” said senior running back Toa Taua.

Some familiar faces are gone, but going 1-0 every week is still the goal.

“It’s really just been grinding and sticking to the process the way it’s always been since August - even July,” said senior defensive end Sam Hammond. “Since then we’ve really been grinding. I haven’t seen any fall off in terms of focus. I’m just happy with the team and how locked in they’ve stayed.”

Hammond is one player who stuck around and will play in next week’s bowl game. It’s unclear just how many starters - like Hammond - will be available in Detroit. Other players have risen up the depth chart. It’s anyone’s guess who will contribute Monday.

“Some guys have been scout team guys most of their careers here. Now the door is open and they’re going to take advantage for sure,” said Hammond.

Ken Wilson will lead the Pack next season but until then interim head coach Vai Taua is responsible for getting Nevada ready. The Wolf Pack Hall of Famer wasn’t available to talk to the media Monday but his younger brother, Toa, was. The senior running back explains how life has been different since the elder Taua took over.

“(Vai’s) really bought in. You can tell by the way he coaches and by the way he teaches,” said Taua. “He’s really inspired and motivated. It comes onto us players and us wanting to pick up off him.”

For the first time in two years bowl games feel like normal once again. Instead of flying in the night before Nevada will leave Wednesday for the Midwest.

“I heard we got Top Golf and some other things going on,” Hammond said of the bowl activities. “That really adds to the way to go out. Luckily I got another year to redo things. The bowl activities are the most fun part of doing this whole thing. I’m really stoked.”

Nevada faces Western Michigan and kickoff from Ford Field is scheduled for 8 a.m.

The game on ESPN.

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