Nevada football coach Brian Polian came on my radio show Thursday to answer several questions about the upcoming season.
Players reported for fall camp on Friday. The season officially kicks off Friday, Sept. 2 at the newly renovated Mackay Stadium against Cal Poly.
Here is part 1 of that conversation:
You guys made a big announcement, at least I thought it was big, you got those new helmets. Can you talk about those?
We’re going back to a blue helmet, but with a silver mask. Sport wolf logo on one side – script “Pack” on the other! pic.twitter.com/KrQjHqCXy9
— Brian Polian (@BrianPolian) July 24, 2016
The change to the white helmets and uniforms was actually done before I arrived. That usually is about a 4-6 month process so that had begun and when I arrived, our former equipment guy was like ‘hey, this is what our uniform is going to look like and we’re going to a white helmet.’ I was like ‘ok fine,’ I don’t get caught up on that stuff. Apparently our fan base did. They were not happy about the white helmets.
Now it was time to spend some money and update the equipment … That paint job was designed specifically for us. We went through about six different versions of it before we found something we liked. We really like the silver mask and I am a huge fan of the script logo. I think it’s very collegiate. I think it’s very classy.
What I’ve found is 95 percent of the response has been very, very positive and the players love it.
We’ll transition now to this season. You ended last year on a high note, you win the bowl game (beat Colorado State in the inaugural Arizona Bowl). How much has that helped, if at all, building into this season?
There’s no doubt it helped. That momentum, as storied as this program is, there are only four bowl wins in the modern history, and we’ve got one of them now, so that was a big deal. By no sense of the imagination do I think that last year was a complete success.
But there are a lot of things that go on outside the public view: the APR (academic progress rate), the graduation rate. With all the headlines that are made in college football nowadays, our guys are making headlines for the right reasons and not the wrong ones. All those things in our program are in the right place.
And we have done things on the field that I’m very proud of, but by no sense of the imagination do I think that we’re home yet.
Winning the bowl was big, but we’ve got to get the Cannon back, we’ve got to win the games that frankly, we ought to win.
How important do you think it is, you’ve gone 7-6 the last two years, to take that next step? To get to eight wins? To get to nine wins?
It’s important to me. It’s a priority. There’s no doubt. There are two ways to look at this. And our fan base needs to keep this in mind: 10 bowl games in the last 11 years. Out of 128 (Div. I) football-playing schools in America, less than 25 can say ‘we’ve been to 10 bowl games in 11 years.’
So there has been a steady production here. There’s been success.
But the reality of it is, I look back at the last two seasons and I can’t help but think what could’ve been. We could’ve been a nine-, 10-win team either year. That’s maturity.
I hope that as we’ve got this crew together now with me and our staff for going on four years, I got asked this at media days. ‘How do you feel?’ I said well listen, ‘the best way for me to describe it is, did you feel better as a senior in high school than you did as a freshman?’ Well that’s what I am right now. I’m going into my senior year. I’m going into four years.
So I feel better. I know our program is in better shape off the field and in the classroom. Now it’s time to take the next step. That’s what I hope for.
Part II of the conversation with Nevada football coach Brian Polian will run in next week’s Sparks Tribune.