When Kalei Meyer returns to Aloha Stadium on Saturday, the Kamehameha graduate will be opposite the coach who recruited him to Nevada.
In Nevada’s weekly press conference on Tuesday, Meyer credited then-Wolf Pack offensive coordinator Nick Rolovich for drawing him to Reno. With Rolovich now in his first season as Hawaii’s head coach, Meyer is among the Wolf Pack players looking forward to facing him in the Mountain West Conference opener for both Nevada and UH.
“I’d have to say if it were not for Rolo I wouldn’t be here,” Meyer said in the press conference posted online. “He got me to come take a look at Reno. I don’t think if he hadn’t convinced me to come look at it I would have ever come up here. He’s a great coach. I love him, but this week is just another game, so we’re going to go out and play.”
Meyer, an honorable mention All-State pick in 2013, is slated to make his second straight start at nose tackle following a season-ending injury to senior Salesa Faraimo. Meyer made his first career start last Saturday in Nevada’s 24-14 loss at Purdue and was in on four tackles.
“I would say it was OK,” Meyer said. “There’s a lot of things that needs to be improved, me, everyone as a whole, and as long as we can continue to improve week to week we’ll be fine.”
Meyer said he’ll have about 25 family and friends in the stands at Aloha Stadium for Saturday’s game.
“The main thing for me is just seeing my family,” Meyer said. “When I left my freshman year, a week after I had to report I had a baby brother born, so I only get to see him on the breaks when I go home. So it’s nice to see him and see my family.”
Sophomore linebacker Jake Lacaden (Saint Louis) has also seen action in all four games for Nevada and moved into the two-deep for this week’s game.
While Rolovich helped attract Meyer and Lacaden to Nevada during his tenure in Reno, Wolf Pack head coach Brian Polian indicated the program might not be quite as active in Hawaii going forward.
Asked in the press conference if Nevada would continue to recruit in Hawaii, Polian said “Yes, if we can find the right guy. But we’re not dedicating the resources and the time that we used to.”
“Everybody in the Pac-12 is going in there, half the Mountain West is going in there, the University of Hawaii is doing their best to keep their best players at home. There’s a lot of competition. That’s an expensive trip both in terms of finances and of time.
“It’s just a judgement call. That doesn’t mean anything about my level of respect for how good the high school football is in the state of Hawaii, how much I enjoyed getting to know the coaches. And we still, if we can find a guy that we have a connection to or has a legit interest in us, then we’ll pursue it. But in terms of just going in there and casting a net, I’m not sure its the wisest use of our resources.”