The University of Nevada will move to online classes the Monday after spring break due to the coronavirus, but that won't keep the Wolf Pack from likely having a full spring camp.
Wolf Pack football coach Jay Norvell told this week's Wolf Pack All-Access his team's spring camp is still on track to start, although with a delay. Camp was supposed to start March 24 but won't start until April 1 at the earliest as things remain fluid.
The Mountain West canceled all spring sports Thursday but let on-campus practices up to the discretion of individual schools. Nevada is allowed 15 practices in the spring to prepare for the 2020 season.
“I feel badly that so many athletes are being effected," Norvell said. "We obviously have a bigger problem that is more important for our public and the general health of everybody. This is a really exciting team that I think our fans would like to see. Hopefully spring practice will continue and we’ll be able to show them clips and highlights of some of these guys. We’re going to trudge forward and continue to practice and prepare this team for this 2020 season.
"It’s the second phase for us. We just finished eight weeks of winter training, which went really well. Jordon Simmons did an amazing job getting our guys bigger and stronger. We’re maturing as a team. He’s also done a great job of training leaders and developing leadership in our group. That’s the foundation of what our whole season is built on. The next phase is five weeks of spring training.”
With the opening of spring practice still 11 days away, things could change, but Norvell is intent on getting spring camp in.
“It’s a fluid situation," Norvell said. "It changes daily. We just have to continually, cautiously move forward and make sure we’re being smart with our athletes and making sure their overall health and well-being is the most important thing. We want to continue to practice. It’s what we do. It’s our job as coaches to prepare this team for our season. It’s an important step. We’ll have 15 practices. We get three practices in helmets and we get another 12 in pads. We’ll be smart. We’re set up to get about 100 snaps a practice. The great thing about spring practice is every practice is like a game for us.”
The Wolf Pack canceled the public portion of its annual Silver & Blue Game but will have a private spring game. Norvell said the Wolf Pack's spring camp is of extra importance because half of his coaching staff is new. The Wolf Pack hired five new assistants in the offseason, including defensive coordinator Brian Ward, who will install a new scheme after replacing the fired Jeff Casteel.
"We’re going to put in a new defense," Norvell said. "We’re tweaking some things on offense. So it’s an important time to really teach those schemes with our players.”
Norvell also weighed in on his new five-year contract that includes a jump in salary not only for himself but also an increase in salary pool for his assistants.
“I’m very appreciative of the administration, President (Marc) Johnson and (athletic director) Doug (Knuth) for showing support for what we’re doing as a program," Norvell said. "I’m really proud of my coaches and my players and to be able to support my coaches. We’ve lost a lot of great coaches over the last three years to bigger jobs and to be able to have a little more financial support to keep those very good coaches we have is very important.
“Its great for recruiting that the players know that the staff is going to be in place and we’ll continue doing what we’re doing. It helps us moving forward having confidence and reinforcing all the core values we’ve put in place. Our kids have worked very, very hard.”