Monday, August 31, 2009

Column: Nevada's Lippincott gets another chance

When last football season arrived, things were looking good for Nevada running back Luke Lippincott.

The former Palma standout was coming off an outstanding junior year with 1,420 rushing yards, the fourth-best single-season total in Nevada history.

Then, in the second game of the 2008 season against nationally ranked Texas Tech, he hurt his ACL and was out for the year. The NCAA granted a hardship redshirt for another year of eligibility. After being out for nearly the entire year, the 6-foot-2 Lippincott is looking to make up for lost time, and make an impact for the Wolfpack.

Lippincott studied psychology, so he knows all about the difficulty athletes face mentally before getting back on the field.

"You've got to get past that," he said. "That's one of the hardest things to get past when you have an injury."

Lippincott is taking graduate classes in sports psychology.

"That's just not my mentality," he continued. "The last thing I want to do is act timid; that's how people get hurt. The best thing I can do for my knee is go 100 percent."

Nevada (7-6 last season) runs the "Pistol" offense, a shotgun-type offense with the quarterback and running back closer to the line. The plays run out of it give Nevada a unique offense with elements of the run-and-shoot and single wing.

Quarterback Colin Kaepernick threw for 2,849 yards in 2008 as well as getting 1,130 yards rushing, second on the team behind Vai Taua, who had 1,521 yards and led the WAC with 117 a game.

"It's kind of pick your own poison," Lippincott says of the Nevada offense. "A lot of plays it's Colin, me and Vai all in the backfield at once. The defense has to pick which one of us to take."

He had six carries for nine yards and an 11-yard reception in last week's end of preseason scrimmage.

There was a silver lining about Lippincott's injury and taking the year off.
Without his senior year being delayed, he wouldn't be suiting up for the Wolfpack when they open their 2009 season Saturday at Notre Dame, in front of more than 80,000 fans and a national television audience.

"We are all trying to keep that excitement down, because no matter what, on game day we will be pretty pumped up," he said. "Look for a good game. There will be a lot of scoring, that's all I can say for now."

•Embele Awipi is a Marina-based radio host and member of the Football Writers


The Salinas Californian

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Salinas, CA 93901



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