Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2009 | 2:30 a.m.
Ryan Greene, Rob Miech and Alex Adeyanju digest all there was to take in from UNLV's 59-21 loss to BYU on Saturday night at Sam Boyd Stadium.
- UNLV-BYU Box Score
- Kantowski: UNLV's Mike Sanford running out of excuses
- Instant analysis: Loss to BYU leaves Mike Sanford hanging by a thread
- Cougars toy with Rebels in thorough 59-21 beating
- Harvey Unga puts on show for BYU fans in ‘Provo West’
- BYU quarterback has a ball — at UNLV’s expense
- Notebook: Team leaders think signs of belief are still present
- Live Game Blog: BYU rolls reeling Rebels, 59-21
- Opponent: Utah
- Date: Oct. 17, 7 p.m.
- Where: Sam Boyd Stadium
- TV: The Mtn. (Cox ch. 334)
- Radio: ESPN Radio 1100 AM
- The Line: Utah by 16.5
Editor's note: Each Monday, UNLV football coach Mike Sanford meets with the media to discuss last weekend's action and next weekend's matchup. So each week the Sun will bring you notes and quotes discussing both.
When taking into consideration the UNLV defense has allowed 122 points and 1,384 yards of total offense in its last two outings — both losses — hearing that fundamentals need work doesn't sound too surprising.
The Rebels will now enter their second week with a different approach at practice to try and correct tackling and assignment issues.
"We haven't spent as much time (lately on individual work), and as a result of that, we noticed a drop-off in fundamental play," UNLV coach Mike Sanford said. "We spent more time on team work and group work, so we've gone back and mixed the two.
“Once you get into the season, there's a tendency (for first-teamers to practice) against scout teams. I love our scout team guys, but there's a drop-off in the quality of the work that you get and the speed of the work and the competitiveness of the work, so we're going back to more practicing against each other, which is more of an NFL-type practice."
On top of continuing to mention injury woes and inexperience as partial explanations for defensive holes, Sanford also alluded to the fact that the Rebels have had a knack in recent weeks for drifting away from some defensive principles that were established back in the spring and in fall camp.
However, when asked about specifics, Sanford kept things close to the vest.
"I'd rather not," he said. "I just don't want to give away our game plan."
It piled up
Citing the aforementioned reasons for recent defensive woes, Sanford and his staff found more than a few miscues when reviewing the tape of Saturday's game.
"In looking at it, I felt like we had nine plays on defense that killed us," he said. "For the most part, in that game, on defense, we did some pretty good things. But nine plays got out of there for a variety of reasons."
It was last year at Utah where Fuimaono tore up his knee and was out the remainder of the season.
As for Paulo, he has a sprained shoulder and his status will be determined later this week.
Sophomore Kyle Watkins turned his left ankle, as did senior receiver Rodelin Anthony. Watkins is expected back out on the practice field by Wednesday, while Anthony, who missed the games at Wyoming and UNR following a concussion, will be determined as the week progresses.
Junior quarterback Omar Clayton, who returned as the starter against BYU and had his ups and downs, didn't suffer any further damage on his throwing arm and should be good to go against the Utes.
A little deeper on the depth chart, senior defensive end Preston Brooks, who was out Saturday with a sprained shoulder, is most likely out this Saturday.
As for junior defensive end B.J. Bell, he will take a medical redshirt and will most likely need surgery to repair a tear in his shoulder.
Saturday's loss marked the second game in a row in which UNLV all but abandoned its run game on offense.
In the past two games, Trotter, who had 295 yards and averaged 5 yards a pop in the season's first four games, has eight carries for 16 yards.
Against UNR, offensive coordinator Todd Berry said the Wolf Pack defense was daring UNLV to throw the ball by stacking the box against Clausen in his first start of the season.
This Saturday, it sounds as if it was a different case.
"Just in general, I would say we're a better offense when we're balanced," Sanford said. "We need to be balanced between run and pass. I think we were in too much of a hurry to score. We got out of what we do best on offense, and that's mixing run and pass.
"Ideally -- I won't give exact figures -- but we'd like to run for a lot more than that."