rebels football:

Tim Hauck working to upgrade UNLV football defense, help brother turn program into a winner

The 15-session spring practice opens today with an emphasis on new coordinator Tim Hauck’s defense, secondary making improvements

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Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

New UNLV football defensive coordinator Tim Hauck is seen outside the gates to Rebel Park on Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013.

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With each tough-to-stomach UNLV football loss last fall, Tim Hauck felt the pain.

Hauck, the younger brother of UNLV coach Bobby Hauck, was hired last month to be the Rebels’ defensive coordinator and cornerbacks coach. Although Hauck is new on staff, he has long felt like a part of the program while cheering for his brother from a distance.

Last year, Tim Hauck was the defensive backs coach for the NFL’s Cleveland Browns. On several late Saturday nights on the East Coast, he would follow UNLV games online. It made for some uneasy hours.

“I would stay up late listening to games on the computer and going crazy,” Tim Hauck said. “I always got more nervous for his games than the ones I was coaching. I kind of lived and died with UNLV. Now, it is good to be part of it and hopefully have some positive effect.”

When the Rebels, who have just two wins in each of Bobby Hauck’s three years as coach, hit the field today for the start of spring practice, Tim Hauck will face a daunting task in helping turn UNLV into a winner.

The Rebels’ defense struggled for most of last year, ranking second to last in the Mountain West Conference in total defense and pass defense, eighth in rushing defense and seventh in scoring defense.

But Tim Hauck, 46, isn’t concerned with the past. He’s spent the past month taking inventory of the returning players and feels there are several quality pieces already in place.

“We are in very good shape,” Tim Hauck said. “(UNLV coaches) have done a very good job recruiting. Obviously, it was a complete and total rebuild. I think we are in the position now where we have the skill to be in position to go out and win some football games.”

He typically arrives before 7 a.m. each day at the Lied Athletic Complex on campus. He sits in an office with all white walls — he hasn’t found time to decorate or complete his move, only hanging a few unframed photo of his nieces and nephews — and spends endless hours searching for ways to make over the UNLV defense. There will be new formations next year, none of which the brothers are too anxious to share, and Tim Hauck takes great pride in putting together his playbook.

He spent 13 years playing defensive back in the NFL, then coached in the league with the Tennessee Titans and Browns. He also spent one year coaching with UCLA (2008) and four years (2004-07) on Bobby Hauck’s staff at Montana. He’s played in and helped design several schemes that have been successful — several of which will be in the Rebels’ defensive playbook.

Some of the terminology and formations will remain the same from last year, but much will change. That makes the 15-session spring practice extremely important in changing the defense.

“We are going to be very diverse,” Tim Hauck said of the defensive formations. “I don’t think you can sit in one front and one defense all game long the way the college game has gone. You just can't sit back there and let them take it to you. You have to be aggressive, do different things and attack them in different ways so offense isn’t dictating what you do.”

The brothers are similar in their coaching philosophies, borrowing several techniques from their father, Bob Hauck Sr., a high school coaching legend in the family’s native Montana. The late Hauck Sr. spent more than three decades at Sweet Grass High, where he coached Bobby and Tim and made a lasting impression on how to manage a program.

“Being naturally analytical probably comes from my dad,” Bobby Hauck said. “The competitiveness certainly comes from him, and hopefully wanting to be a good person and doing things for the right reason.”

Tim Hauck turned down higher-paying jobs at more successful programs and in the NFL to come to UNLV. That’s a good thing for the Rebels’ secondary, which was criticized at times last year for poor play.

With Tim Hauck, they’ll be taught by someone who played the position for more than a decade at football’s highest level, giving the new coach instant credibility with his players. Now, it will be their job to learn and take those skills into game situations.

“They had times last year where they didn’t hold up their end of the bargain, and we can’t have those breakdowns,” Tim Hauck said of the UNLV defensive backs. “We have to be sound in what we do, and we can’t give up the big play because it is a mental error. If it is a physical error, so be it. But it can’t be because we are making mental mistakes.”

From enjoying fishing in Montana to their mannerisms when talking, there are much similarities with the brothers. They hope coaching a winning football team at UNLV will be added to the list.

It’s no secret that Bobby Hauck, whose 6-32 record at UNLV is mostly credited to struggles while playing inexperienced players too early out of necessity in his initial two seasons, needs to have a winning season to maintain his position as the Rebels’ coach. Bobby Hauck trusts his brother can transform the defense.

“It is good from a lot of aspects,” Bobby Hauck said of the hire. “From the personal aspect, it is a pretty cool. From the getting-the-job-done aspect, it is a pretty good deal for our program to have someone of his experience to come in and do this. We all know he had more lucrative opportunities and chose to be here with us.”

Ray Brewer can be reached at 990-2662 or [email protected]. Follow Ray on Twitter at twitter.com/raybrewer21.

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  1. " turned down higher-paying jobs at more successful programs and in the NFL to come to UNLV" Please! Well, we will find out after his one and done season here if he still gets a job offer! I can't wait for the Gomer brothers to leave town. I hope they take Livengood with them! The only reason this program fails is because of coaching and A.D. leadership. Ask yourself, if all things are equal and the Mountain West was formed today, what school would you go to as a recruit. Reno, oh that would be fun for a inner city kid or perhaps, same could be said for Wyoming, Fresno, New Mexico and Colorado State, OK, Maybe San Diego would be a good spot. I would choose Hawaii over UNLV, but the Hotel Mgmt degree from UNLV would be a good back up if I didn't make the pros!

  2. @ toloff... Tell you what, if you have nothing positive to say, just don't say it! Let's see how the year goes, and if the Rebs still have a measley two win season to show for their efforts, then the powers that be will most assuredly decide Hauck's fate. Until then, spare the rest of us your petty name-calling, and make some constructive criticism.

  3. The Rebels have been pretty young the last couple of seasons, so it will be interesting to see what they can do with more experienced players.

  4. I wish the boys the best. It can be very frustrating watching our players be knocked around for so long. If nothing else I hope Timmy teaches these boys how to play smart, cause turnovers, and HIT THE QUARTERBACK!
    Good luck guys I renewed my tickets like to see you guys turn it around a lot riding on this season.
    Good Luck

  5. Lets face it...Its all about Recruiting if u cant bring in top talent u wont have a winning program UNLV FOOTBALL IS A HARD SELL.