MWC Roundup: ‘Ice cream fixes everything’ for San Jose State edition

935_-mountain_west_conference-primary-2011San Jose State coach Rob Caragher has stolen a page out of the kindergarten handbook in an attempt to lighten the dour mood around the South Campus.

After a lifeless performance in a loss to Nevada on Saturday,  he decided to bring some levity to this week’s practices by having the fat guys on the offensive and defensive line participate in a kicking contest, with ice cream as the prize.

It ended in a tie, so everyone got sweets, writes Jimmy Durkin of the Mercury News. It makes the players take their mind off the task at hand at least, but it doesn’t necessarily fix the fact that the Spartans let the last really good opportunity to wrap up a bowl berth escape and run for a touchdown.

Now, it means having to do it against a 6-4 Navy team that runs the ball as well as anyone or an undefeated Fresno State program that is firing on all cylinders.

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MWC Roundup: A building boom at two of conference’s Calif. schools

935_-mountain_west_conference-primary-2011These are boom times for the Cal State’s football schools, at least in terms of athletics, with San Diego State and San Jose State are each building up their facilities.

The Vermeil-Walsh Athletic Complex, which will be the new North end zone at Spartans Stadium, is set to break ground soon at San Jose State and will make the stadium in general more hospitable. Spartan Gym, which houses the volleyball and gymnastics teams, is also getting a sorely needed facelift along with the rest of the Spartan Complex. The facility is also privately financed which, considering the hard times the school has fallen on financially, is a relief.

Athletic director Gene Bleymaier hopes its the first step of a rebuild of Spartan Stadium, he said back in May. The stadium hasn’t had significant renovations since the 1980s.

San Diego State is building a new basketball practice facility on campus. But with the future of Qualcomm Stadium uncertain and likely short, the Aztecs are looking at all options, including building an on-campus stadium.

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Link roundup: MWC coaches say the darndest things edition

Nevada coach Brian Polian is whining again.935_-mountain_west_conference-primary-2011

First, it was about what Chris Ault left him as a team in Reno. Now, it’s about Fresno State’s decision to let Derek Carr throw the ball in the closing seconds Saturday with the win more or less in hand.

Polian thought the Bulldogs should’ve taken a knee. Fresno State coach Tim DeRuyter let Carr pass for the record.

The first-year Nevada coach at least understands why the Bulldogs went for the cheap touchdown.

“… The thing that people have to keep in mind is … as a competitor, in the moment, I’m not happy about it,” he said. “But Fresno State and Northern Illinois are competing to be the highest-ranked non-AQ team to get into a BCS bowl. And, unfortunately, in the day and age of uneducated voters and computers and people that simply look at scores.”

it’s good he understands that much. But that’s probably not all of it.

DeRuyter also let him go for it because he was probably cognizant of the fast approaching record and wanted to get it out of the way. Letting Derek Carr throw an easy 27-yard pass against an already defeated team lets him get the record at home and spares the team a side show around him approaching the record.

Around the conference

— In other foot-in-mouth incidences … Hawaii may be winless this year, but Norm Chow isn’t going anywhere, Ferd Lewis of the Star-Advertiser writes (subscribers only). He had previously told reporters, “I am too old for this.” He said he was speaking tongue-in-cheek. But, perhaps, when you have three wins in two seasons, perhaps he is too old for this? (quote obtained from Idaho Statesman’s roundup.)

— Jon Wilner pretends like he cares about non-BCS conference football.

— Fresno State coach Tim DeRuyter is among 20 coaches up on the Bear Bryant coach of the year award watch list, the Fresno Bee reports. Also, Derek Carr was named one of 16 semifinalists for the Davey O’Brien award.

— Fresno State went for it on fourth down four times against Nevada with mixed results. They plan to keep going for it, the Bee adds.

— Wyoming’s first game with Jamar Cain at defensive coordinator will be against Fresno State. Welcome to the big leagues. Cowboys coach Dave Christensen said the defense will try some new things against the Bulldogs.

— A quarterback from Colorado State’s last good teams in the not-to-distant past is reconnecting with the team after years of staying away, the Fort Collins Coloradoan reports. That player, Bradlee Van Pelt, along with Joey Porter were inducted into the Rams hall of fame over the weekend.

— Despite falling a spot to No. 10 in the volleyball polls, Colorado State’s volleyball team (22-0 after wiping out Wyoming Tuesday) is still really damn good.

Injuries are hitting San Diego State’s defense hard, particularly at defensive tackle, reports UT San Diego. This at a time when David Fales’ progress as quarterback for the Spartans has them worried.

— Worth noting: San Diego State’s starting quarterback, Quinn Kaehler, is a walk-on who has been playing this season without a scholarship. Aztecs’ coach Rocky Long says that will be rectified this spring.

— Spartans coach Rob Caragher and QB David Fales talk about the Aztecs. Caragher’s ties to Aztecs’ coach Rocky Long and offensive coordinator Bob Toledo run deep as well.

— Boise State’s game against Wyoming will be on ESPN2 at 7:15 p.m. Their defense gets a merciful week off after getting banged up through October and needing players to take the field out of position to help them beat the Rams on Saturday.

— San Jose State and Nevada will be denied a big payday by conference rules because their game in two weeks will be on ESPNU instead of one of the bigger networks. Jimmy Durkin of the Mercury News takes time to outline the raw deal.

— The father of Utah State tight end DJ Tialavea died of health complications on Monday, the Salt Lake Tribune reports.

— It’s also worth noting that the 5-4 Aggies are one win away from a third straight bowl berth. Saturday’s game against an equally desperate-for-a-win team in UNLV figures to be the highlight on the conference’s matchups. Coach Matt Wells, though, is focused beyond that, to Boise State later this month (much like San Jose State, winning out in conference earns them a spot in the Mountain West championship game.)

MWC Roundup: Strong play gets Fales noticed nationally

David Fales had a  career night against Wyoming, throwing for 482 yards and accounting for six touchdowns (5 passing, 1 rushing) in what was probably his crowning performance this season.

The senior quarterback from Salinas is beginning to put together an excellent season, and it’s starting to get him recognition. He was named MWC player of the week for the second straight game on Monday for his performance.

And that’s not all. As Jimmy Durkin of the Mercury News reports, Fales was also named one of eight stars for the Manning Award again this week, with voting taking place here for the top award.

On top of that, his performance has put him in the running for Capital One Impact Performance of the week, with voting for that going on through ESPN here. He was also honorable mention for quarterback of the week from the Davey O’Brien Award trust, for which Fales is in 22nd place.

Around the Mountain West

— New San Jose State women’s basketball coach Jamie Craighead, whom the Spartans poached from Sacramento State, will make her first appearance on the bench tonight when they take on William Jessup at the Event Center in an exhibition game.

— After eight years of struggles against Nevada, UNLV finally got to paint the Fremont Cannon red thanks to its 27-22 win on Saturday in Reno. The Rebels, 5-3 on the season and 3-1 in Mountain West play, will host the Spartans for their homecoming game on Saturday at 1 p.m.

— University of Nevada students — a whole 15 percent of them, which must be a record for student elections — voted in favor of a $30 fee on top of tuition to help construct a $46 million student fitness center and a $25 million field house, Chris Murray of the Reno Gazette-Journal reports. The Nevada board of regents needs to approve the fee in early December before it can go into effect.

— Fresno State is nearing a sellout for Saturday’s game against Nevada. The team is as banged up as its ever been in coach Tim DeRuyter’s tenure, Bryant Jon-Anteola of the Fresno Bee reports.

— Colorado State’s volleyball team is really damn good.

— Meanwhile, the Rams are playing meaningful November football for the first time in a long time, Kelly Lyell of the Fort Collins Coloradoan writes. While the Western division of the MWC is fairly straight forward, the Mountain is a mess with three viable contenders all slated to see each other throughout the next month.

— Oh, and Colorado State may have to make their move with QB Garrett Grayson hobbled.

— San Diego State has opened up a position battle for kicker after Saturday’s debacle, writes Stephanie Loh of UT San Diego, in which sophomore Seamus McMorrow missed a 40-yarder earlier in the game, then had a potential game winner blocked. Senior Wes Feer will get a chance to win the job back.

— Kicker isn’t the only position in flux for the Aztecs. After starter Quinn Kaehler, it’s apparently  chaos.