Hey there guys. I have a condensed, hopefully a more succinct report on UNLV this week while I run around Halloween week like a headless horseman...chicken. Hey, there's a costume idea!
If you're unfamiliar with UNLV football: here's what's good to know.
Coaching Staff: The Hauck Brothers
UNLV is headed by fifth-year head coach Bobby Hauck and the Rebels
are currently 2-6 on the season. Bobby comes from a successful stint
at the currently NCAA penalized and maligned Montana University.
Coach Hauck has left little correlation to that University's current
troubles and has lead UNLV to one of their few program Bowl games in
2013, the Heart of Texas Bowl, where they lost to North Texas.
Bobby employs his brother Tim to run the defense, which resembles
several NFL teams that he's worked on. Tim Hauck employs an
aggressive converge and physical tackling mindset but a conservative
approach to defending: setting up his players in a position to make
Bobby is historically balanced in his offensive approach, which also
reflects a pro-style, traditional west-coast type offense that uses
a tight end. This year UNLV has been selling on the pass: to use
their large receivers, dual threat scrambling JUCO QB and
compensating for Tim Cornett....UNLV's all-time leading rusher which
has graduated. UNLV has been airing it more out of this base style
and looks to use QB scrambles to create out of a broken pocket.
Balanced and traditional: UNLV works out of a pocket and uses old-timey
motion, although they rarely go without four receiving threats on
the field. Many times this is where the tight end comes into play.
UNLV is the old school spread, usually using an old school formation
to run it. They keep is simple: no frills. Although UNLV has a
modern receiver package (close 4 WR spread and motion to trips)
there's still more stand by's in their playbook than not.
From a consistent single-back base, the Rebels have been known to
work the dive/play action pass/tight end outlet triangle in the
past...although this year they planned for their running back
turnover far ahead of time. Their leading rusher is a sophomore
(Keith Whitely) and only has 400+ yards on as little as 10.6 carries
a game (a 4.7yd average). This nearly mirrors the same amount of
yards their QB has scrambling without the sack subtractions.
UNLV's implied RB recruiting roles resemble running....right
routes...and romping....remedied robustly 'round....
Ack, forget it!
UNLV has a speed type back on their roster (Whitely: 5'9"; 185) and
a power back on the roster (true JUCO George Naufahu: 6'0" 215).
Rut' Roh....he doesn't get the ball much. 54 carries in six games (1
QB Blake Decker is another true JUCO that dominates the starts over
pocket passer Nick Sherry. Decker has a 4:3 INT to TD pass ratio.
(12-9) and 58% completion percentage. For a dual threat guy he fits
into the mold of the typical athlete QB thrust into a suddenly pass
Senior Devante Davis hasn't played in four games, (hand injury) but,
still leads the WR's in pass receptions a game...barely...he's been
sorely missed (no pun intended) in a scheme that looks to have been
centered around his role in the personnel early in the season. UNLV
has been using two six foot plus freshman receivers to get the job
done (6-1; 6-3) and they've overachieved. Kendal Keys and Devonte Boyd are both large possession guys that have enough wheels to be
significant deep threats. They're not out running anyone but they
have a good chance to come down with a ball.
Most of the receiving corps look outfitted for possession and UNLV
lines up 6-3 to 6-5 tight ends. They have a hybrid role in this
offense on the line for blocking or in the slot itself. They're
generally still pretty heavy. They have an above average looking TE
The O-line has a sizable bunch (topping 310lbs in places), but
haven't been able to hold back defenses keyed up on the pass. Put in
that scenario they've lost those fights more often. Utah State is a
good defense but it's eye popping to see Decker go down seven times
in this game...along with the number hits he took on top of it.
Decker has lost 154yds from sacks and TFL this season and is
toughing it out.
Physical, fast 4-3 with conservative play call: UNLV uses lots of
above average ends and a few true tackles up on the line but really
depends on good linebacker play. They are fast laterally and swarm
to the ball in an old school, tough type fashion. UNLV doesn't mix
it up too much and doesn't rely on blitz to create: they stick to
the classic 4-3 to protect the middle against the pass and contain
in a read/react type way. They use extra lineman to do the work and
then use the rest of defense to react around them.
The above is FINALLY an edge stack look once the offense has driven
to the dangerous part of the field. From here most teams take a shot
to the end zone and UNLV has bent to the point of being forced to
react...rather predictably. The blitz indeed comes. I've identified
the linebackers above and the safeties are playing up for the first
time in the series.
I would expect similar formations to this on Saturday but mostly out
of a 4-3 stack closer to the line of scrimmage and in the same
read/react way, coupled with aggressive, swarming lateral tackling.
The defense's trend is reflected well in UNLV's leading tackler, LB
Tau Lotulelei, who has 69 tackles with 42 of them assisted.
Lotulelei is fast (a mere 220lbs) but has four solo TFL to his
credit. This team pursues to the ball well and gang tackles even
better. The D-line leads in sacks generally and it's to be expected
with this format. The secondary has enough senior leadership to fall
back on but this defense has struggled to produce turnovers. The
secondary has had a few bad games: 3 INT's between three players
with most of the -.75 turnover ratio coming from forced fumbles from
the linebacker corps.
"Bend, Don't Break" has been a slowly evaporating field hold for
UNLV despite their physical play. They're running a NFL scheme with
college players and although the toughness is there, the mere hope
to contain to 3rd down is all the Rebels have been able to shoot
for. Otherwise they've been run on and beat up without the benefit
of forcing two good stops + the 3rd down kicker.
UNLV is potentially missing:
WR Marcus Sullivan (conduct suspension)
LB/K/P Nicolai Bordnand (A flex LB/Punter? interesting)
Depth chart RB's: David Greene and Jamal Overton
S Peni Vea (7 starts; 20 solo tackles; minimal pass break ups) Run
support safety (6-1; 205). This is significant.
WR Devante Davis (hand) <---sidebar: was dressed as a ploy
against USU. Probable prep per Coach Davie.
CB Sydney Hodge (hand) Senior corner, used on corner blitz when
LB Trent Langham (leg) Sophomore LB; 215lbs. Developmental.
I can take some requests real quick if you need. Just put something
in the thread below. I hope everyone enjoys the game and I
appreciate the read.
GO Lobos! Full article next week for Boise State. -LTFF
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