The Nevada football team leads the Mountain West in scoring at 35.3 points per game, which ranks 23rd in the nation, but offensive coordinator Matt Mumme doesn't feel like his unit squeezed everything it could have out of the talent on hand.
While Mumme, in his fifth season at Nevada and 19th as a college coach, said this year's attack is "by far the best offense I've ever been a part of," he isn't fully satisficed with how the offense has played.
"I don't think anybody's really been overly satisfied with our performance," Mumme said on Wednesday's NSN Daily. "Obviously we could be way better in the run game than we've been, a little more like we've been in past seasons where we've definitely rushed for over 1,000 yards. Carson (Strong) has done a nice job of distributing the ball to receivers, so that's been impressive. And you look at all the receptions of each group, they're all pretty close together. So been happy there. I think there's still a few things that when we look back on it, 'Hey, if we had been a little bit better here or there, we definitely would have been in the Mountain West championship.'"
As the season has progressed, Nevada has relied more and more heavily on its passing attack, which ranks fourth in the nation at 371.6 yards per game. But the run game has almost been non-existent, the team's 59.6 rushing yards per game ranking last in the nation. Nevada has allowed 35 sacks, which rank bottom 15 in the nation. The Wolf Pack offensive line is one area that's struggling, with Strong being hit repeatedly this season, in part because of limited mobility as he deals with a right knee injury.
"Knowing that Carson can't move well and knowing that he's got to stay put where he is in the pocket and if he gets chances he's going to make people pay for it, it's going to be something we'll have to evaluate after the season," Mumme said. "I mean, Ty Orsini and Aaron Frost and (Jermaine) Ledbetter and Jacob Gardner, they're great players, they're really smart, they do a nice job. We probably just need to take a look back and see where we made mistakes and how we can improve. It's mostly in the running game, right? I had a conversation with Coach (Chris) Ault last week and it stemmed about the running game. So that's something that in our five years here, we haven't really struggled as much as we had this year. We know as coaches we've got to be better, and our players have got to be better and we'll definitely address it in the offseason."
Mumme said he's never gone through a season like this where his team has dropped three two-point losses in conference play, that thin margin for error requiring just a little more out of Nevada's potent offensive unit.
"The margin of error is really small, right?" Mumme said. "I mean, all these teams we played and lost to are good football teams in every sense of their game. And we just had to be a little bit better. But I will say this. This is by far the best offense I've ever been a part of. You look at us from top to bottom with what Romeo (Doubs) has been able to do every week. Cole Turner, how rangy he is and the balls he catches. Carson and I were talking this morning and it's 81 percent touchdowns to Cole Turner inside the 5-yard line. I don't know anybody else that has stats like that. Of course, Carson Strong's been tremendous in his career. He's been such a great young man to coach, and what he's been able to do has been outstanding."
Barring the unforeseen, Strong, Turner and Doubs will turn pro after this season, with Mumme saying soaking up these last couple of games with those star players he helped develop into future NFL players.
"It gives me the chills right now, and I'm almost a little teary eyed," Mumme said. "Carson and I talked on Wednesday last week and I said, 'Don't do it.' I said, 'I'm not losing it yet. Let's get through the game and all the emotions that game was going to bring.' After the game was over, Carson broke down after it was over and we kind of hugged each other and really almost carried each other off the field, walking back through the tunnel. Just to see what these guys have done and where they started. I talked to the team this morning in a scouting report, and to be 3-9 (in 2017) and then have an opportunity and in year five to be a 9-4 team, it hadn't been done since 2010. So my hat's off to all those guys and all those seniors that have stuck with it and really taken this program to another level."
You can watch Matt Mumme's full NSN Daily interview below.