Former Wooster Colt figures prominently in Pack’s defensive plans |

Former Wooster Colt figures prominently in Pack’s defensive plans

By Darrell Moody

Tribune News Service

RENO – Charles Haley made the position famous in the 1990s with the 49ers. He was considered an outside linebacker, but rarely, if ever, did he drop off the line of scrimmage in pass coverage.

He was truly a defensive end, and his job was to pressure the quarterback, and he did that quite well.

The Nevada Wolf Pack hopes to have the same kind of success this season with 6-foot-5, 265-pound senior J.J. Milan, who has been moved from defensive end to outside linebacker in the Pack’s 3-4 defense, which will be its base scheme this season.

“I think it’s good for me and good for the defense,” Milan said last weekend. “It gives me lots more opportunities to make plays. It gives me a chance to use my athleticism to our advantage.

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“I’m still going to be pressuring the passer. I’ll be coming off the edge 70 percent of the time. That’s still going to be my main focus.”

Milan said he is getting anxious to test the Pack’s new defense in a live situation. If the Pack is going to blitz from different directions, as Milan indicated, it will put a lot of pressure on cornerbacks Kevin Stanley and Paul Pratt.

“They can handle it,” Milan said. “They can run like deer.”

The only difference for Milan will be upright more often this year instead of being in a three-point stance with his hand on the ground. Having an upright start might make it easier to get around opposing tackles and tight ends.

“We think he can be a difference maker,” Nevada coach Chris Ault said. “J.J. is an important player to us. We’re expecting big plays from him.”

Milan, a three-sport star during his high school days at Wooster, made plenty of plays last season. He was fifth on the team in tackles with 49 – 10 1/2 of those were behind the line of scrimmage. Milan was credited with 4 1/2 sacks for minus-21 yards.

While Milan may have had some personal success, he knows the team’s defense needs to improve a great deal. The Pack ranked 108th against the run and allowed more than 34 points a game.

“We had some good games,” Milan said. “We have to stay consistent, though. We can’t go out and give up almost 300 yards like we did against Boise State.”

Much of Milan’s success is how his broken foot heels. He broke his left foot during the first spring scrimmage on March 12, and had surgery later in the month.

Milan was on crutches for six weeks. Once he was off the crutches, he started running a little bit. He said the rehab went well.

“The foot is all better,” Milan said. “They ran me through some tests (last week). I feel real good.”

NOTES: Sports West announced its WAC television schedule for the coming season. The games will be available in the market of the two competing teams and are also picked up by ESPN GamePlan, a pay-per-view package available on most cable and satellite systems around the nation. The Nevada at Boise State game on Oct. 29 will be shown at 12:05 PDT and the Hawai’i at Nevada game on Nov. 5 at 1 p.m. also will be shown.

The Milan File

Hometown: Reno, NV

High School: Wooster

Year in school: Senior

Born: Aug. 11, 1984

Position: Outside linebacker

Height: 6-5

Weight: 265