UNLV football:

Rebels trying to ignore poor record and finish strong, starting with New Mexico

UNLV finishes the year with arguably its easiest four-game stretch of the season, something the players want to capitalize on heading into 2013

Image

Earnie Grafton / Associated Press

UNLV quarterback Nick Sherry looks for an open receiver against San Diego State during an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 27, 2012, in San Diego.

They’re nothing if not consistent, these 2012 Rebels. Not on the field, of course. When it comes to game day, UNLV has been like the prize in a Cracker Jack box: You don’t know exactly what you’re going to get, but you probably won’t like it.

UNLV is consistent away from the field, though. After practice, after games and at press conferences like Monday’s at the Lied Athletic Complex, UNLV coach Bobby Hauck and his players have presented a united front. Banged up and beaten, the Rebels have remained positive during a 1-8 season and continue to talk about hope, which is better than the alternative but doesn’t retroactively add victories to the schedule.

This week presents something a little different, as UNLV (1-8, 1-3) returns to Las Vegas for homecoming to play New Mexico (4-5, 1-3) at 1:06 p.m. Saturday on Time Warner Cable SportsNet. The Rebels will be the favorite (-3.5 as of Monday evening) for the first time since they lost as 13-point favorites against Northern Arizona.

“This is a great opportunity to turn this season into something positive,” junior linebacker Tim Hasson said. “We can either feel sorry for ourselves or we can look at it as a four-game season.”

UNLV tried this earlier in the year, too. Especially after the NAU loss, the Rebels focused on looking forward to the 11-game season still remaining and not focusing on what was behind them.

This time, it makes a little more sense to view the remaining games as their own entity because they all have something in common. And that link is that, like UNLV, none of the opponents is very good.

New Mexico, Colorado State, Wyoming and Hawaii are a combined 2-14 in league play and have eight victories among them, half of which belong to the Lobos. UNLV has common ground with these teams, which is more than it could say the past month with road games against the likes of Utah State (7-2), Louisiana Tech (7-1) and Boise State (7-1).

The Rebels and Lobos are kindred spirits in their battles against injuries, too. UNLV’s offensive line already was banged up going into last week’s San Diego State game, and it took another hit when senior guard Doug Zismann went down in the fourth quarter. At this point, there’s no telling whether he, senior Yusef Rodgers or sophomore Brett Boyko will be completely ready for the game.

“We’ve just got to go with what we’ve got, and I don’t know who that is right now,” Hauck said.

One of the guys who likely will be there is freshman Ron Scoggins, a Bishop Gorman grad who just before signing day changed his mind and chose UNLV over New Mexico. Had he honored his original commitment, Scoggins wouldn’t know whom he’d be blocking for this week.

The Lobos lost two quarterbacks in last week’s 49-32 loss to Fresno State, a bizarre game that Bob Davie’s team led 21-0 before giving it away. New Mexico ranks last in the country with less than 55 passing yards per game, so it’s not as bad as losing top running back Kasey Carrier, who two weeks ago set the single-game league record with 338 rushing yards.

In fact, the unknown at quarterback could end up helping New Mexico as Hauck prepares his players for both the Lobos’ base offense and an extensive wildcat package that could feature any number of running backs running zone-reads off direct snaps. If the Lobos have success with that or their traditional runs, it’s not going to matter that it’s most likely going to be third-stringer Quinton McCown at quarterback.

“If we don’t stop the run, they don’t have to have a big playbook for him to make big decisions,” Hasson said.

Most opponents haven’t been able to achieve that against New Mexico this year. The Lobos average the fifth-most rushing yards in the nation out of a system Hauck said is closer to UNR's than Air Force's, though the passing numbers certainly resemble an academy team's.

Whomever the Lobos look like, the Rebels are confident they can beat them. That goes for the other three games in this four-game season, too. Most of the past evidence suggests this is ludicrous, but Hasson said they don’t have time to listen to that negativity. This year is mostly a lost cause as far as the preseason goals are concerned, so the Rebels are trying to get a jump-start on making 2013 more consistent on and off the field.

“These last four games in November give us something to look forward to, to spring us forward to next season,” Hasson said.

Taylor Bern can be reached at 948-7844 or [email protected]. Follow Taylor on Twitter at twitter.com/taylorbern.

Join the Discussion:

Check this out for a full explanation of our conversion to the LiveFyre commenting system and instructions on how to sign up for an account.

Full comments policy

Previous Discussion: 19 comments so far…

Comments are moderated by Las Vegas Sun editors. Our goal is not to limit the discussion, but rather to elevate it. Comments should be relevant and contain no abusive language. Comments that are off-topic, vulgar, profane or include personal attacks will be removed. Full comments policy.

  1. Bobby Hauck future should depend on these last four games. The responsibility and accountability is on him. Either Hauck wins or he should be fired starting with New Mexico. No more excuses like we're young or we have injuring so does the other team.

    I think this game againist New Mexico is a must win for Hauck. New Mexico has improved a lot from last year. Frenso State is a good football team and to be up by 21-0 is pretty impressive. They only lost to Boise State by 3 and scored close to 30pts against a really good solid defense in Boise State.

    It seems like Davie has already turned New Mexico into a better Football team within his 1st year. Pretty good coaching from a guy who has been away from coaching for a long time. What has impressed me is he does not have excuses like we're young or we have injuries like Hauck normally provides.

    I am going to game to pull for UNLV. I hope the players and coaching is solid and UNLV can come out of this game with a Win!

    If Hauck fails to get this Win then there is no question in my mind it's time to turn the page and make a change. The speculation that UNLV cannot get a quality coach for this $350K yearly salary is a bunch of crap. They're a lot of solid good coaches who could create some energy with new concepts especially on defense that should be able to pull off Wins against NAU and Southern Utah.

    I am still sick about losing to NAU and Southern Utah and the fact UNLV plays very soft on defense. This week since New Mexico has no passing game we better see UNLV load the box and play the run. I hope the coach does not allow the Line Backers to play 7 yards deep and the DB's playing 10-12 yards from the line of scrimage.

  2. Remember....If Hauck completes THIS season (2012), he will receive (in addition to his regular salary) a $450,000 completion bonus, for a total of $800,000 for this season. Firing him prior to the completion of the season will save $450k.

    http://espn.go.com/college-football/stor...

  3. Put more money into to UNLV basketball and eliminate football completely.

  4. that's stupid. pulling for Hauck to get at least 3 of the next 4.

  5. Most of comments here are at least constructive. Like TDUNLV and JerryWayne,I just want UNLV to win and want to see Hauck turn this around,but must be critical at same time,despite fact UNLV has a shoestring budget. Lot of focus from the die hard's will be watching this game and I look at what Davie hasdone as very impressive also-although lot of coaches shy away from running run oriented option type football because not sexy and doesn't send players to the NFL. This is most important game of season,must win for Rebels!

  6. Here is a link to Coach Davie's contract at UNM. $4.5 million over six years plus $l.3 million a year for coaching staff. Yup, that's pretty much what Huak gets at UNLV.

    http://www.mwcconnection.com/2011/12/2/2...

  7. @JahReb the reason is that most of the homers here do not take the time to do research. It is sad but true. UNLV could afford to pay a coach a lot more, to hire a better coach. Just when the fans don't seem to care about hiring a better coach why spend the money?

  8. Yeah,guess I am unaware how the athletic dept. works, not good at organizing those million dollar fundraisers either,will let these other experts do that. Not that good at evaluating athletic directors either. Need to let these L.A homers run the show.

  9. Okay everyone, before we start considering the coaches pay, or the pay of a new coach, lets see what he can do to finish up the season. UNLV can and should win the next 4 games. that means we end with a 5-8 record overall and a 4-3 record in conference. If he can do this, you have to be willing to give him another year. It looks like a promising stretch so let just see what happens. Get to Sam Boyd and support your team this weekend!

  10. NO one really knows the salary structure of coaches.There's just no proof except what disclosed...Hope Sherry can stay 100%,seems he's hurtin....If Sherry 100% (a big if) then pass lots esp. on 1st down w/ short routes play-action & move chains... I loved positiveness of players mentioned...Just may be on slight positive turn. DON'T EVER STOP UNLV FOOTBALL, THAT'D BE REAL STUPID!!!! IF BASKETBALL LOOSES SHUT THEM DOWN TOO????

  11. Year 3. Currently 1-8. Loss to NAU. Defense ranked 105th. Offense ranked 95th. Hauck is drowning.

  12. I always get a good laugh out of people who say "cut the football program." The reality is that the Mountain West Conference requires the school to have football team, and so does any other major conference.

    You can make a case for firing or keeping Hauck,but if UNLV does cut him loose, I hope they try to nab Pat Hill from the Atlanta Falcons. He did great at Fresno State,and probably wouldn't have a problem recruiting here in Vegas.

    Regardless, Hauck makes bottom of the conference money even with the incentives(as he should). If UNLV spends bottom of the conference money on football, then expect bottom of the conference results.

  13. Reading the comments if UNLV has money to hire a new coach, Jim Fassel would probably do it dirt cheap since he probably wasn't getting paid with the Locos.

  14. @aferrall45, I'm for keeping Hauk through the remainder of his contract because of fiscal constraints on the university, to a lesser extent the turmoil from the continual turnover of coaches and staffs, and I haven't changed my opinion, but I like your mention of Pat Hill. Hill also has ties to UNLV (OC in 1981, and 1982). Do you think he would work here for the dollars we offer and the commensurate funding committed to this team? I found a nice article about Hill from a couple of years ago.

    http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/sports/co...

  15. all this talk of firing bobby. I dont understand my fellow fans. the team is clearly better than the past and hopefully they show it the next few weeks against a weak schedule. how much blame can be put on a coach when YOU CANT RECRUIT AT UNLV. look at the game against wash st on espn, the crowd was a joke and espn did their best not to shoot the empty stadium. the stadium is in a horrible place who wants to drive to ghetto sam boyd, i heard they paved the parking lot (yay). the history is not their so the school needs to invest in shiny things that 17 year old kids like ie stadium, practice facility and new uniforms( helmets are not enough). what coach is going to want to have his career killed by coming to vegas????

  16. o yeah dont even bother recruting football in vegas. the talent is NOT THERE. hodge is a perfect example one of the best players coming out of vegas from palo verde and yet he is (sorry to say) complete garbage and teams throw all over him every time a reciver is wide open for a td i see hodge ten yards behind him....but overall the talent in vegas in not there. the sorry high school teams down here in sd would kill the best team in vegas minus gorman

  17. These next 4 games are big but that does not change this fact: Hauck is going the distance as far as his contract goes so everybody better get used to it. And like many, I dont know how that makes me feel.

    On the one hand, we're definitely a better & more physical team. We've been in every game (except BSU) with a chance to win in the 2nd half. We only start 2-3 Srs, start a redshirt Fr under center, and have double digit Fr or Soph starters. We ARE making progress despite all the built in negatives regarding UNLV football....and Hauck deserves the credit. We ARE a better football team than when he came.

    Then on the other hand, we've lost to two FBS schoos, lost a 3 TD lead vs Reno at home & a 2 TD lead vs NAU at home too. Not to mention having some really, really conservative play calling that baffles the mind. We actually play sometimes like we have something to lose! Those really sink the bottom line and Hauck deserves the blame for those. It just seems its one step forward & two steps back with this program.

    Meanwhile, the comparisons to Davie or RichRod & their first yr "success" are apples & oranges and not even remotely applicable here. Locksley recruited well at UNM...Stoops didnt leave the cupboard bare at AZ either. Both came into decent situations talent wise. Hauck came into the Titanic with hardly anything on either side of the ball. Thats not an excuse...just a fact. Plus he's recruiting mostly HS kids & redshirting almost everybody he can...so he's planning for & thinking long term. Livengood knows this & has bought in too. Hauck aint going anywhere for at least 2 more yrs regardless of his record the past 3 seasons.

  18. Bobby Hauck better Win this weekend. If UNLV does not Win I think it will be hard to justify and making more excuses to keep Hauck.

    Results vs Accountability.... It's time to start winning.

    Should be a good college football game come this Saturday. People need to come out and watch.

  19. @TDUNLV these next 4 sad games are what keeps Hauck or gets him fired? Not the horrible past few seasons where he has managed to bring this program even further down the hole?

    The AD needs to wake up. Spend the money that the athletic dept has and actually hire a coach who can coach past the flag football division of youth football.