Monday, Oct. 10, 2011 | 3:30 p.m.
Following Saturday's ugly 37-0 blowout loss at rival Nevada-Reno, UNLV second-year coach Bobby Hauck had to change something.
Heading to the bench is sophomore Caleb Herring, who so far has completed 53.4 percent of his passes for 615 yards, five touchdowns and five interceptions, but has been wildly inconsistent. His recent slide culminated by completing just one pass for eight yards on Saturday evening in Reno, which both set single-game lows in the program record books.
"Basically, Caleb's working hard, trying as hard as he can, and right now it's not going well enough," Hauck said at his Monday press conference. "Sean's also been working hard, and now he's getting a chance. That's kind of all I need to say."
Herring's slide began after UNLV's shocking 40-20 upset of Hawaii on Sept. 17, when he completed 17 of 29 pass attempts for 178 yards and two scores. The following week, in an equally stunning 41-16 loss at home to FCS foe Southern Utah, a solid defensive performance went to waste as Herring threw three interceptions that were all returned for touchdowns.
This past weekend, Herring didn't complete his first pass until there were just over four minutes remaining in the game, misfiring on his first 13 attempts, including a costly interception in the end zone early in the game with UNLV trying to grab an early lead. As UNR's defense turned up the pressure, he consistently held the ball too long, overlooked some open options in the flats and overthrew receivers downfield.
He thoroughly outperformed Reilly in fall camp, which ultimately landed him the starting gig, but at the very least, Reilly is deserving of a chance at this point to try and jumpstart an offense that has stalled since the season's first win.
"We've evaluated both guys a lot in practice," Hauck said. "Sean doesn't have a start under his belt, and at quarterback, it's different in games. He's practiced well, he's worked hard, he knows the offense and hopefully he'll respond well on Saturday.
"He's been here since January, and he's got a good grasp of (the offense). He's a smart guy."
The 6-foot-4, 210-pound Reilly threw for 2,425 yards and 26 touchdowns with only six interceptions last year at Saddleback College in Mission Viejo, Calif.
He's appeared in two games in mop-up duty this season, completing six of seven passes for 49 yards.
Through six weeks, UNLV ranks 113th out of 120 FBS schools in passing offense, and Reilly will go against a Wyoming defense that checks in at 92nd in passing defense, allowing 250 yards through the air per game.
After winning its first three games of the season, the Cowboys have lost back-to-back outings, first at home against Nebraska, then on the road this past weekend at Utah State. In the game at USU, Aggies true freshman quarterback Chuckie Keeton completed 15 of 20 passes for 213 yards and five scores before taking a seat during the second half.
UNLV is trying again to win its first road game under Hauck this weekend. Away from Sam Boyd Stadium since he took over, the Rebels are 0-10, losing those games by an average margin of 36.6 points.