Friday, August 20, 2010
Mountain West 2010-UNLV Rebels
2009 Record: 5-7 (3-5)
Head Coach: Bobby Hauck (1st season 0-0...80-17 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Rob Phenicie (1st season)
Defensive Coordinator: Kraig Paulson (1st season)
2009 Bowl Game: 5 points basically kept them out of one
Offense: With the Hiring of Hauck, expect to see a slow bleed off of the spread offense that was run under former coach Mike Sanford. Hauck is not a fool, however, and will play to the strengths of his roster by still implementing the spread, especially because his current roster is tooled for it. QB Omar Clayton is expected to win the job again, but Mike Clausen is waiting in the wings in case the injury bug bites again. WR Phillip Payne is now the leading man after the graduation of Ryan Wolfe. Payne is highly talented, and could be one of the best in the conference before the end of the season. Michael Johnson also returns at WR. CJ Cox leads the pack at RB coming into fall camp, but as many as 5 players are fighting for the job. 4 linemen return, which will add some nice consistency.
Defense: The Rebels had no defense last season, and while they tried to shoot it out with everyone, their offense was not up to it. UNLV ranked 155th in total defense last season, and it hurt by giving up games against Oregon State and Wyoming. Isaako Aaitui is the lone returnee on the line at DT, but he has awesome size. He'll be joined at the spot by 350 lb DT Ramsey Feagai. Ronnie Paulo is the lone returning LB. Quinton Porter is solid at CB, but he is the lone returnee there. Alex DiGiacomo is highly thought of by the staff at SS.
Special Teams: Ben Jaekle returns as the starting PK once more, but there is a battle going on at punter between Brendon Lamers and Nolan Kohorts.
Wins: 9/25 New Mexico
Toss Up Games: 9/18 @ Idaho, 10/16 @ Colorado State, 12/4 @ Hawaii
Losses: 9/4 Wisconsin, 9/11 @ Utah, 10/2 Nevada, 10/9 @ West Virginia, 10/30 TCU, 11/6 @ BYU, 11/13 Wyoming, 11/18 Air Force, 11/27 @ San Diego State
There are 13 games on the schedule due to the road trip to Hawaii. This schedule is brutal, and one has to figure that Hauck and new AD Jim Livengood will figure out a way to soften it up some in the next couple of seasons. UNLV has to travel to Hawaii, Utah, West Virginia, and BYU. That alone spells losing season to me.
Outlook: Bobby Hauck was a tremendous hire for UNLV. If he gets all of the support that he needs, and you have to guess that he will, than he can build UNLV into a winner fairly quickly. If you can win at Montana, you should certainly be able to win in Vegas. It just won't happen in the first season.