Lobo Points of Interest, UNLV Pistol Points

Lobo Football travels to Las Vegas to face UNLV. TRM Football Analyst, Anthony-AKA LetTheFurFly,tells you what you need to know about this Mountain West battle.

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 a play.

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.

Offensive philosophy

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 start).

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 heavy scheme.

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 group.

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.

Defensive Philosophy

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 needed. Significant.

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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