Illingworth, Dollars touch on spring improvements

Published: Apr. 6, 2023 at 10:58 PM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - Ninth to last in all of the FBS last season in passing yards per game resulting in less than 19 points on average.

The struggles of Nevada Football’s offense a season ago are expected to be a thing of the past as the Wolf Pack continues spring ball.

The team relied on quarterback Shane Illingworth in fives starts last season. He could have a bigger workload this year.

“Rome wasn’t built in a day,” Illingworth said of his progress. “These guys have to see you work day in and day out. You have to be the same person consistently. That’s what I’m trying to do. I’m trying to put my best foot forward, and show them who I am, and that just takes time.”

Being in Reno nine months now compared to just two months when Illingworth got the nod in the team’s 2022 season opener has made a world of difference, he says. Expanding his skillset should too.

“Statue quarterbacks are a thing of the past - the pocket passers,” said Illingworth. “The (Peyton and Eli) Mannings, the (Tom) Bradys, as this generation goes you have guys like (Patrick) Mahomes, (Joe) Burrow, (Josh) Allen. You have to be able to move nowadays. Definitely have to incorporate that into my game.”

A new-look running back room will also be relied upon.

Out are Toa Taua and Devonte Lee. In comes Ashton Hayes and Sean Dollars.

“We have it all. We have speed, we have power, we have guys that can juke, we have it all,” said Dollars. “The philosophy for this running back room with Coach Vai (Taua) is to never take your foot off the gas.”

Dollars is a four-star all-purpose back from California prep power Mater Dei. He started his college career at Oregon.

The trust in Ken Wilson brings him to Reno.

“(Wilson) had a good plan for me and a good plan for my future,” Dollars said. “I love this team and my teammates out here. I’ve already known most of them for a while. It just felt like the right opportunity for me to grasp and not let that go.”