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Nevada football notes: Brandon Talton a midseason first-team All-American

Brandon Talton
Brandon Talton has hit two walk-off field goals this season. (Byrne Photo/Nevada athletics)

Brandon Talton keeps adding to his collection of honors.

The three-time Mountain West special teams player of the week was named to The Athletic's first-team All-America team Tuesday.

Talton was one of two players from a non-Power 5 program to make the team. The other was Boise State defensive end Curtis Weaver. Between the first and second team, Talton is one of seven players to earn the distinction from a mid-major program. The Athletic’s college football writers across the country nominated players based on their performance in the first seven weeks and a panel of editors selected the teams.

Talton has made all 12 of his field-goal attempts, the second-most makes without a miss this season behind Washington's Peyton Henry, who is 14-of-14. Talton has two walk-off winners, nailing a 56-yarder against Purdue as time expired and a 40-yarder against San Jose State as time expired. He has made 14-of-15 extra points, the lone miss being blocked.

"What can you say about Brandon Talton?" Nevada head coach Jay Norvell said during his Monday press conference. "The kid has been amazing. He's so mature. He's upset with even some of his made kicks when he doesn't kick them solid. I'm just so proud of him and his progress. He's only played six games and he's made two of the biggest field goals. Most guys don't ever make those in their career. You turn on Saturday night highlights in the college game and there are a lot of top-10 teams that wish they had a good kicker. We're really pleased with Brandon's performance."

Talton, who began the season as a true freshman walk-on before getting a scholarship after the Purdue winner, has given his teammates the ultimate confidence.

"I already know it's going in," safety Austin Arnold said when Talton takes the field. "I don't have to look. I don't have to see it. I know he's going to knock it down because he's that type of player, he has that type of mentality and wants to do well and help us win a game. I have the ultimate confidence in Brandon. He's the GOAT. For him to walk on at first and get a scholarship, he's really been doing his thing. I don't know how he does it honestly. A freshman coming in, he's a hungry dude, I guess."

Nevada practicing late

Nevada's typical practice schedule has the team on the field around 8 a.m. each day, but Norvell has shifted that schedule to night practices as the Wolf Pack preps for an 8:15 p.m. Mountain time kickoff at Utah State on Saturday.

"We're going to practice at night this week, which will be good, a change-up," Norvell said. "Our kids will get a chance to sleep in. I just think it's good this time of the year to change the routine up and get everybody's attention."

The weather in Logan is expected to be poor, with a forecasted low of 26 degrees and a 70 percent chance of rain.

"It's great football weather," said Norvell, whose team struggled with similar weather in a 54-3 home loss to Hawaii last month.

As for the later starts, count the Wolf Pack players in favor of that.

"Finally get some time to sleep in at night because I've been having a lot of homework to do at night and I'll be tired with 5 a.m. every day," Arnold said. "It's cool."

New center in the fold

Nevada started a new center – Tyler Orsini – in the win over San Jose State, and Norvell liked how he played.

"Best game for the Union as far as blocking, finishing blocks and we had a center, Tyler Orsini, emerge," Norvell said.

Nathan Edwards, a Galena High graduate who earned a scholarship in fall camp after three years as a walk-on, started Nevada's first five games at center, although Orsini was seeing reps in recent action. Orsini is a 6-foot-2, 300-pound junior who spent the previous two seasons at Ventura College.

"He's very typical of most junior-college players," Norvell said. "We didn't have Tyler in the spring. he came here in the summer, it's taken him a few games and some time with Coach (Angus) McClure to really understand blocking patterns and calls and the rhythm of the game, and that's been an issue for us the first few games. But we're getting better there, and Tyler did outstanding."

Orsini was named the Wolf Pack's Basalite Big Blocker, given to the team's top offensive line player, in the win over San Jose State.

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