UNLV football:

We’re hard to love’: Bobby Hauck and Rebels dealing with reality of starting 0-2

While many outside of the program are calling for his job, Hauck is trying to stay positive and focus on a winnable home game this Friday

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Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

UNLV student Jordan Hardy sits dejectedly in the closing minutes of the Rebels’ game against Northern Arizona on Saturday, Sept. 8, 2012 at Sam Boyd Stadium. The Division I-AA Lumberjacks upset the Rebels 17-14.

UNLV vs. Northern Arizona

Northern Arizona lineman Trey Gilleo rushes to greet running back Zach Bauman after Bauman's touchdown during their game Saturday, Sept. 8, 2012 at Sam Boyd Stadium. The Division I-AA Lumberjacks upset the Rebels 17-14. Launch slideshow »

The reality of Saturday night’s disaster at Sam Boyd Stadium, a 17-14 loss to Northern Arizona that set UNLV back to 0-2, has had time to settle in the Rebels’ minds. It has churned around up there for nearly two days, mixing into a fusion of anger, regret and, they hope at least, resolve.

After losing to a Division I-AA team for the second consecutive season, many fans are calling for coach Bobby Hauck to be fired. He’s 4-23 in his third season at UNLV, a year that wasn’t supposed to be like the others. So far the games are a lot closer, but the results, which will ultimately determine his fate, are the same.

That was the scene for Monday afternoon’s press conference at the Lied Athletic Complex where Hauck, though clearly still upset over UNLV’s most recent failure, appeared the most relaxed he’s been all season. He handled questions about his job security with calm, saying both UNLV Athletics Director Jim Livengood and President Neal Smatresk have been supportive, and the decision is in their hands, not his.

“I don’t make that decision anyway,” Hauck said. “We’ll either get it done or we won’t.”

That sounded more like one of his typical sound bytes, but in general the mood was lighthearted and Hauck was quick with a few jokes.

“We know we’re hard to love right now,” Hauck said. “I got a text from my mother about 15 minutes ago. She told me she loved me, but it took her two days to send it. That’s a good indicator.”

The room could have been somber and uncomfortable, yet Hauck and a pair of Rebels gritted their teeth, smiled and tried to forge ahead toward Friday’s ESPN-televised game against Washington State at 6.

“The self-pity and the negativity have no place on a team that’s getting ready for a game,” Hauck said.

Honestly, this is probably UNLV’s best chance at a victory until it welcomes in New Mexico on Nov. 3. Washington State opened with a 30-6 loss at BYU, and last week it had to fight for a 24-21 victory against Eastern Washington, another Division I-AA team, albeit one much better this season than NAU.

If UNLV lets this one slip away, too, it could be a long search for that first victory, and the questions about Hauck’s future would only grow louder by the week. A victory against the Cougars doesn’t erase Saturday’s defeat, but it’s the best place to start.

“Right now things are a little bit dark and dim,” senior offensive lineman Doug Zismann said. “But it’s like my mom always said: You act your way to feeling better. So I’m going to go out to practice today, I’m going to bounce around and put a smile on and get out there and hit someone.”

Click to enlarge photo

UNLV head coach Bobby Hauck closes his eyes on the sidelines during the fourth quarter of their game against Northern Arizona Saturday, Sept. 8, 2012 at Sam Boyd Stadium. The Lumberjacks upset the Rebels 17-14.

Hauck said he woke up at 5:30 a.m. Sunday feeling sick and had to drag himself to the office for a 6 a.m. meeting with the rest of the coaching staff. The players, he knew, were going to depend on the positivity starting at the top. Even if everyone’s taking the "fake it until you make it" approach, it has to be nearly universal to have any chance of taking hold throughout the team.

Last year at Washington State the Rebels were thumped 59-7. With Mike Leach now leading the charge, the Cougars are a pass-first offense with a lot of the holes on the roster you would expect of a rebuilding program under a first-year coach. So while the Cougars’ passing against the Rebels’ secondary is a major concern, Washington State is vulnerable. It’s won only two road games in the past four seasons coming into 2012.

And unlike last year’s early-season losses, UNLV isn’t “flopping around,” Hauck said. There’s no excuse for Saturday’s loss, but a victory was still just a couple of plays away. Because of that this team may be more capable of making some corrections and jumping on this opportunity than the two previous squads would have been.

“In our locker room, everybody’s smiling now,” junior linebacker Tani Maka said. “We’re trying to go back to work.”

For Hauck, it’s about making sure there’s work to go back to. Livengood told the Sun before the season he would be patient with the program, but nobody anticipated two straight gut punches like this.

Now that it’s happened, UNLV has 11 games left to deal with its new reality.

“The two realities are this: One, we’re 0-2. We have to accept that,” Hauck said. “The other reality for us, from our perspective, is that we’re triple-overtime and a last-second field goal away from being 2-0. That’s how we’re going to approach it.

“We’re going to be positive about it, even though we’re absolutely ill about being where we are right now.”

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

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  1. I thought when we lost the Big West Conference title to Long Beach State that was the most depressing moment of sitting in the stands. Ah well. I hope I am the most surprised fan sitting in the stands Friday night...might be down to me and the players' moms. For all those who want to tar and feather Hauck wait until his contract is up. Change just doesn't always make for the better and I say that for watching UNLV Sports since 1971. For those who want to get rid of Livengood, who do you think hired Rice? and Tim? Hauck had some good looking credentials coming into the job. He may or may not be the man for this job but I don't believe canning him at this juncture of the season is real headdy.

  2. I can see why Hauck is relax. The AD provided him a contract EXT $350K per year not bad for poor performance. And the AD wants to be patient. Our Fans patience expired. This move needs to happen before more embarassment continues and we deserve accountability. The UNLV President needs to hold the AD and Hauck accountable and change is need immediately. The AD pick Hauck therefore he should be let go as well. Hauck continues to lack the decision making when he refused to fire his buddy's Paulson as the Def Coordinator back in February and the Offensive Coordinator. Hauck style of football is old school and not exciting to watch. MT Griz is very happy he is gone. Hauck should have searched for someone who could implement the new style of college football like the Oregon, AZ State, UCLA and MT Grizzlies all these programs have incorporated the no huddle and they snap the ball with 25 seconds on the play clock and they put pressure on the defensive. Fans and players love this style of football. The Defense for these program implement the same style 3-4 with lots of pressure to the QB. This is todays exciting college football. Hauck should take full responsibility and his leadership and coaching has failed. UNLV should try to spark some life and hope in the players and Fans I see no solution but to release Hauck and the AD immediately we deserve more exciting football and effective leadership. We demand accountability. Here are some possible future coaches to consider which will bring excitement to UNLV football Gus Malzahn UCLA, Mike Norvell AZ State, Mark Helfrich, Oregon Paul Petrino Arkansas all these coaches are proven Offensive Coordinators who will put major points on the scoreboard bring successful FUN to UNLV football players and fans. UNLV President go get these guys immediately hired them before the season is over so someone else does not pick them up! Okay President the ball is in your court if you cannot make the move then we should demand for you be gone as well.

  3. Finally, the writing is on the wall. The only question remaining is when the athletic director and president of the school will swallow their pride and acknowledge they've hired the wrong guy.

    It's just a matter of time. If you think UNLV has any way of beating a WA State coached Mike Leach team, even in his first year at the helm, you need to talk to your PCP or mental health provider.

  4. Hauck - you're an embarrassment to the students & alumni of UNLV. Please resign now while you can....you were the wrong choice from the beginning and now you're exposed. Walk away so we can start anew. I'm praying that we make the right decision this time.

  5. They will get blown out. The only game they have a shot at is New Mexico, but they loss to them last year and should have won that game. Maybe, when there are 200 fans in the stands Livengood will realize it cost more more to keep BH than to get rid of him. Sad that neither Smatresk or Livengood will adress the public, instead they choose to hide in their offices and hope it blows over. The thing is this is year three and the program is going backward. How hard is that to figure out?

  6. i was done after the joke he put on us friday night. Being an alumni i am ashamed. This guy is collecting a pay check with no ties to vegas. Probaly doesnt even live in vegas in the off season. UNLV needs to hire somebody who is going to care when we lose. his record speaks for it self. even then last clown we had didnt embarrass us like this."HE took over a bad team, give him time" HE MADE THIS TEAM WORSE.this is his 3rd year and i have heard all the crap about how the "talent" is better/there this year. Bull, the O line looks like normal guys out there no size at all. The dbacks look like they werent even the best dback on their sorry high school team they came from. UNLV is recruting the garbage out of so cal that is not LA or santa Ana or even down here in san diego. they grap the crappiest guy off a team in no where Fontana or Ontario and hope he can compete with a real d 1 athelete. Its pathetic and i REALLY do not know where we go from here. But it seems as if the Athletic Dep is happy with his progress. " We dont have a stadium" well who is going to build a stadium for a team that is really really bad. I think if usc was playing at sam boyd every week they would sell it out. they need to put some wins together and then maybe we can talk stadium, why dont we just give this guy the key to vegas while we are at it. Sorry my rant is long and all over the place.. just even more pissed alumni when i read he is calm. HE SHOULD BE HIS CRAPPING HIS PANTS.. I REFRESHED MY LASVEGASSUN.COM SITE MANY TIMES TODAY HOPING FOR HIS HEAD

  7. i was done after the joke he put on us SAT night. Being an alumni i am ashamed. This guy is collecting a pay check with no ties to vegas. Probaly doesnt even live in vegas in the off season. UNLV needs to hire somebody who is going to care when we lose. his record speaks for it self. even then last clown we had didnt embarrass us like this."HE took over a bad team, give him time" HE MADE THIS TEAM WORSE.this is his 3rd year and i have heard all the crap about how the "talent" is better/there this year. Bull, the O line looks like normal guys out there no size at all. The dbacks look like they werent even the best dback on their sorry high school team they came from. UNLV is recruting the garbage out of so cal that is not LA or santa Ana or even down here in san diego. they grap the crappiest guy off a team in no where Fontana or Ontario and hope he can compete with a real d 1 athelete. Its pathetic and i REALLY do not know where we go from here. But it seems as if the Athletic Dep is happy with his progress. " We dont have a stadium" well who is going to build a stadium for a team that is really really bad. I think if usc was playing at sam boyd every week they would sell it out. they need to put some wins together and then maybe we can talk stadium, why dont we just give this guy the key to vegas while we are at it. Sorry my rant is long and all over the place.. just even more pissed alumni when i read he is calm. HE SHOULD BE HIS CRAPPING HIS PANTS.. I REFRESHED MY LASVEGASSUN.COM SITE MANY TIMES TODAY HOPING FOR HIS HEAD

  8. The RJ makes the bold statement, UNLV can not afford to fire Hauck. They cant afford a hot shot Coach either they say. Not alot of thought going into the comment about not being able to afford a Coach, sorry but there are plenty of Coaches who would be doing a better job than Hauck and would take his pay in a minute.
    Why are Board of Regents being interviewed as experts on how to run a football program? It is not the Coaches fault? The Coach has never got out in the community and never has built a program that is connected to the school without a single former UNLV player associated with the program. All you have to do is look at Washington State's staff a year ago. This was a WSU Alum who was given extra chances because he was an Alum and did not fire Coaches who were not ready to Coach at the PAC 12 level. Hauck has the same situation without the goodwill of being an Alum. The program is bleeding already in Game 3 of the season with a non excited fan base. Sorry the rebuild is over, the players are Haucks kids.

  9. Go Haucks, guess now the only choice is to support Haucks. AD not going to fire him.

    $350k salary, you get $350k performance. Fire Haucks , who you going to replace with, with $350K salary? It would have been the same loop again. "Winning coaches come to UNLV, then become a losing coaches"

    We need to cut a bigger pay check for a well known football coach to come.

  10. .....Always next year.....

  11. I am not from here but I live here now and support UNLV, but graduated from a BIG 12 school, which is 2-0.

    My question is, how does UNLV even talk about a new stadium when Sam Boyd is empty on game day and produces such a terrible product. Hauck is an idiot, he should have turned this team around by now. He should have raided junior colleges and FCS schools and given talented players a chance to play at a Division I level. Stop trying to recruit high school kids to come to UNLV, that is an impossible sell.

    Thank God I can watch and support my team on TV and not have to endure what UNLV calls football.

  12. To nolocal, if they build a stadium it would not be for sole purpose of UNLV football,can put international soccer games,rodeo,basketball concerts and conventions in there, which would be justification. GOing back to last year I have been commenting here to fire Hauck,but also think it's unrealistic because UNLV won't pay for big name coach. After watching Sanford wide open offense I actually thought Hauck more traditional style would be better,now don't know. Sanford tried the no huddle wide open attack but was never aphysical team and the defense was awfull. This year I see stronger,bigger team but they don't execute and coaches can't make adjustments but they are stronger at line of scrimmage. Let's if this team has any fight left this friday,or if they will quit.

  13. OK, so we have a nationally televised game coming up on Friday. A NATIONALLY TELEVISED GAME!

    Would it be asking too much to have a full stadium for the TV masses. If we go on national TV with crowds like what we have had for the past 2 games we will totally destroy the national opinion of not only UNLV but the people of Las Vegas, the alumni, etc. Is this what you want? Put aside the hatred of the program for 1 night. Just show up to show your support for UNLV and LAS VEGAS. Would it kill you to do that? Can the alumni show at least a little pride in themselves and the university for 1 damn night?

    If you want a new stadium. If you want a new coach. If you want to have the players play better, guess what, show up and let the nation know that we are REBELS! This is a time for the people of Las Vegas to show support. If you cannot come to the game based on ridiculous excuses, as usual, or you are saying I won't watch UNLV football, then you are as much a loser as you are calling Coach Hauck!!

  14. 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.

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

  15. We need to hire NOW! All Four of these coaches would most likely take the UNLV Job!Gus Malzahn UCLA, Mike Norvell AZ State, Mark Helfrich, Oregon Paul Petrino Arkansas all these coaches are proven Offensive Coordinators that will put major points on the score board. Move Forward NOW! TODAY and get a replacement NAME Give the Future PLAYERS and FANS some HOPE!!!!!

    If we wait then the $$$ Price goes up. Since our AD is unable to make tough decisions we need to demand the President to take immediate action.. Gus Malzahn UCLA, Mike Norvell AZ State, Mark Helfrich, Oregon Paul Petrino Arkansas all these coaches are proven Offensive Coordinators who understand how to create excitement to Today's College Football. We need to inspire some hope in this Football Team. With Hauck it's not going to happen. Hauck has failed to get it done.

    Hauck should take full responsibility and his leadership and coaching has failed. UNLV should try to spark some life and hope in the players and Fans I see no solution but to release Hauck and the AD immediately we deserve more exciting football and effective leadership. We demand accountability.

    WSU will score at least 40 pts this Friday. UNLV will struggle to score 20pts, Another disapointment and embarassement. The President must take action...

  16. This "winnable home game" is against a team UNLV lost to by 52 points a year ago - and they have a better coach now. It might be time to add a third digit to the visitors' side of the scoreboard at Sam Boyd Stadium.

    For a team who has lost home games to FCS opponents for the past two years, the phrase "winnable home game" should never be used.

  17. I plan on going to the game on Friday. On a serious note, will the stadium security allow fans to bring in hand made signs? i.e. "I love Hauck" or "Please fire Hauck"

  18. If you bring a sign make sure you add in the AD as well. He hired Hauck and provided an extension with no results. U of A dismissed the AD as well and he hire of Stoops who was a disaster in Tuscon but at least he won some games. I highly encourage the UNLV President to step up to the plate and provide a Press Conference to address the issues. I ask the Las Vegas Sun to keep asking for an explaination from the AD and President regarding the future of UNLV football. Attempting to get a new facility while the program is at an all time low is not correct direction. Bottom Line... Change is needed today. Hauck needs to be let go effective immediately and the AD should be accountable and be fired as well.

    We deserve some results and performance.

  19. No matter who you hire they can't turn the program around in 2 years. Although UNLV isn't doing so great, you can see somewhat of an improvement. You have to give the coach a chance. I think we are in too big a hurry for a quick fix. A Coach needs time to get their philosphy and ideas in place.

  20. Hauck might not be the choice to turn the program around, but just remember no matter who is coaching the team, it isn't going to be turned around overnight.

    The football program doesn't have the history of UNLV Basketball, so that's one less tool a coach has to leverage in regards to bringing top recruits to the school.

    As someone noted earlier in the thread, the team needs support. Though it's hard to root for a team that sucks, there's no reason why we shouldn't have more fans in our stadium.

    Boise State didn't just magically become good and start selling out games. It started with their fans, community, and alumni.

  21. WSU should help with the crowd size as there are supposed to be 5-7000 of them traveling for this game.

  22. In the spirit of optimism, will keep the positive with two ideas to help:

    NAMES ON JERSEYS - Put the last names of the team's players on the backs of their jerseys. I get the whole 'name of the front is the only one that matters,' thing, but it would help fans relate to players better if they know their names. Give the guys their names on the back and maybe fans can get to know them and want to support them if they actually knew who some of these guys were. Honestly, this is a team filled with unknown players no one cares about (yet). Don't make fans look up names in programs.

    HAND OFFS & PLAY FAKES - I was at the game and almost threw up watching the Pop Warner hand fully extended from getting the snap hand offs and the subsequent halfa$$ed play fake throw down the middle after hand offs. Can't the QB get the ball to the RBs after tucking the snap in for a second to make the defense think a bit? I was able to do that in high school without any trouble. Then after the clearly visible hand offs are executed, what's up the the fake pass that always looks the same? Who's that fooling? If the QB can tuck the ball away before the hand off, then have him roll left or right for a few steps before coming up with a fake throw or continue the bootleg that actually might fake out a defender or two, while also setting up play action much more effectively.

    There you go. Good luck Rebels!

  23. Although the game results have been the same, I do see a bigger more physical Rebel team then the previous two years. Hopefully I can make sense with this paradox of being bigger, faster, stronger & more athletic but still losing to inferior teams. I was at the NAU game & after the 1st 14pts were put on the board by the rebels, NAU made their defensive adjustments & the Rebels stayed in a goal line offense the whole game. The rebels did nothing to offset the defensive adjustments made by NAU. I believe the talent on UNLV is ahead of the coaching staff, their offensive play calling is reprehensible & my 8yr old was predicting where the rebels were going to run the ball. Granted the dropped passes are unacceptable but Sherry actually looks like he will be a good QB but that still doesn't justify running the same sorry offensive sets for 4 quarters. NAU truly outcoached the Rebels & put their players in a position to steal that game & that's exactly what they did.

    As far as the defense is concerned it's clear UNLV is better up front then in yrs past but the coverage is horrible. The 1st thing I see wrong is why does the D-coordinator have the corners play 10-12 yds off the receive er they are covering? You have already lost when you allow any receiver that much running space into his route. Bump cover is the only way to go, if you still get beat you have to make that receiver work his tail off to beat you. Way too many mental breakdowns on defense, not locating the ball while its in the air which cost the Rebels timely penalties, hands to the face on critical drives, mental breakdowns because of a lack of discipline.

    There is no excuse for that loss & I don't see coach Hauck changing much of anything to fix the problems, why not start with the play calling which absolutely sucks, after a series or two you cannot keep running the same exact plays, its the coaching more then it is the players. Hauck & his entire staff should be let go after this loss you cannot lose to a D-2 school in your 3rd year period, that alone is cause for termination. I believe there is enough talent on this team to go to a bowl game I feel the coaching staff hasn't a clue on how to get them there.

  24. Hard to love.

    I doubt that a single poster would say that about the girl who is in the picture. She wears the colors, believes in the school and wants to believe that being a part of the program means something.

    Hauck has not done this in the community. Which was the same problem with Sanford. He does not believe in the loyalty of the program and know one really understands what him or his staff believe in. His quotes - do they bring more fans out to see them play? No.

    UNLV is a part of big time College Football, the same path that TCU and Boise State have followed. Coaches have to sell their program to the community, the student body and recruits. He is in game 2 and can not get the public to buy into his program? Sorry - but Jim Livengood this is not even Stoops territory - this is a guy not ready to be a D1 Coach. If you want the stadium - you need a Coach and this is not the guy.

  25. I fail to see what has improved. yes some areas show smallimprovement. Play calling fail, defensive backs fail, discipline and stupid penalties fail, dumb coaching decisions, weak QB play, so there you have it. Anyone that thinks that's an improvement is 40 watts.