Defensive line unit ready to take on big responsibility

Published: Aug. 4, 2022 at 12:52 PM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - Football games are won or lost in the trenches.

If you ask members of the Wolf Pack football team they’ll tell you controlling the line of scrimmage is always a top priority.

Defensive line coach Al Lapuaho is in his first year teaching his group.

“I’ve played in a three-down front, I’ve coached in a four-down so we put that all together here. It’s been pretty smooth so far so just trying to get everybody on the same page,” he said of his approach in fall camp.

Lapuaho came over from defending conference champion Utah State where he worked with the Aggies d-line for two seasons.

He’ll have his hands full in Reno.

Last year’s Wolf Pack defense ranked 102 out of 130 qualified schools against the run letting up 186 yards a game. Nevada only returns one starter from this position group a year ago, that being Dom Peterson.

“I tell Dom all the time he’ll be a great coach one day. We have a big group and I can’t coach everybody at once so sometimes I’ll be watching one side, he’ll be watching the other side, and he’s giving coaching points,” said Lapuaho. “Deep in the back of my mind I’m like ‘heck yeah, Dom. Thank you. I need that.’”

14 defensive lineman make up the squad on Nevada’s current active roster. They’ll add another player soon.

One new face looking to carve out a role is Liberty University transfer, William Green Jr.

“Me being here through the spring and the summer I feel like I’ve gotten better,” Green Jr. said. “There’s a couple things I can fix and the d-line can fix. Other than that we’re getting better every day.”

The 6′6″ 300 pound lineman is putting in additional work to progress toward being the man in the middle.

“(I’m doing) extra walk-throughs and stuff like that. Just making sure we’re getting the calls,” he said. “We’re acclimating to the calls and making sure we are doing the right thing.”

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