Sean and Heather Krepsz will have torn allegiances Saturday afternoon in Colorado Springs.
On one hand, they’ll be rooting for Nevada. After all, their eldest son, Sean, plays for the Wolf Pack.
On the other hand, they’ll be rooting for Air Force. After all, their youngest son, Kyle, plays for the Falcons.
But the Wolf Pack’s Krepsz believes he has the trump card in the rooting interests.
“I’m the one who has like 30 tickets on the pass list,” he said with a smile. "So hopefully they’re rooting for Nevada.”
Despite this being a home game for Kyle’s Falcons, it has fallen on Sean to get free tickets for the family. He’s been hitting up teammates scrounging for seats for the 1 p.m. Saturday kickoff.
“I don’t know how that really worked out,” Sean said with a laugh.
But he’s been up to the task and expects a big Krepsz contingent to watch the brothers do battle. In an ideal world, Sean and Kyle – both are offensive linemen – would have been playing together. Sean tried to get Nevada to recruit his younger brother when Brian Polian was the team’s head coach, but nothing materialized. Instead, Kyle picked Air Force over offers from San Diego, Columbia and UC Davis.
“Obviously it was pretty tough when the previous regime was here and we couldn’t get him recruited here,” Sean said. “I don’t know what their deal was, so he’s going to have some animosity when he plays us.”
Thankfully, both Krepsz brothers will be on the field Saturday. When the teams played last season, Kyle, a true freshman, didn’t travel to Reno for the game (Air Force won, 45-42). He’s worked his way into the rotation this season, playing in all three of the Falcons' games, with his most snaps coming last week against Utah State. Meanwhile, Sean returned from a dislocated elbow last Saturday to make his 2018 debut at Toledo.
“It will be exciting,” Sean said. “It will be fun. Not many guys get to do this.”
The elder Krepsz joked he was going to talk to Nevada's defensive line coach, Jason Kaufusi, about playing some nose guard this week so he could battle Kyle head to head.
“But with their offensive scheme” – the triple option – “I figured I better not,” Sean joked.
Krepsz’s senior season hasn’t gone perfectly as planned. He missed most of spring camp with a foot injury and then dislocated his elbow early in fall camp. That sidelined the Wolf Pack center for the team’s first three games before he came off the bench to play about 30 snaps last week.
“I feel good,” Krepsz said. “It was a long time coming. Everything I’ve had to deal with between my foot in the offseason and the elbow, it feels like I haven’t played in a year. To be back on the field and playing with the guys is unreal. I just cherish every snap I get because I know how fast it can be taken away.”
Wolf Pack head coach Jay Norvell said Krepsz, who was on the preseason Rimington Trophy watch list, is expected to start against Air Force. Norvell praised the impact Krepsz will have on the Union when he’s full strength.
“He’s going to give us a big shot in the arm,” Norvell said.
Kyle also suffered an injury in fall camp, which pushed him down the depth chart but he’s fought back to get his first college snaps this season. A center by trade, Kyle is listed as Air Force’s No. 2 right guard on the official depth chart for this week's game. Sean is not only the eldest of three Krepsz brothers, he’s also the biggest at 6-foot-5 and 325 pounds. Air Force lists Kyle at 6-1 and 280 pounds, down from the 6-3 he was listed at in high school.
“He’s taller than that,” Sean said of the 6-1 listing. “They've got to hit certain requirements to fly planes and stuff.”
While Krepsz is hoping to earn “bragging rights” over his brother this weekend, this is a game he’s been looking forward to for months. He attended Air Force’s spring game in Colorado Springs last March to support his brother and the two remain close, They plan on talking often leading up to the game.
More than anything, Sean is proud his brother, who is aiming to become an Air Force pilot, will serve his country when his playing career ends.
“It’s awesome,” Sean said. “I don’t have the discipline to do it. I can barely take football coaches yelling at me. I can’t imagine the stuff they have to go through. Talking to him about the stuff that he’s done, it does make me proud and it makes my whole family proud. Anybody who is willing to give that sacrifice – he has to do five years after he’s done playing football – it’s a big deal to all of us.”
Columnist Chris Murray provides insight on Northern Nevada sports. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @MurrayNSN.