Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2011 | 2 a.m.
Ryan Greene and Ray Brewer take a quick look back at the horror film that played out 10 days ago at Sam Boyd Stadium, ending with UNLV losing to an FCS foe - Southern Utah - 41-16. The guys follow it up by previewing this weekend's Battle for the Fremont Cannon up in Reno, and what UNLV needs to accomplish to try and build some of the local buzz back before basketball season officially gets underway.
In order to be successful, college football coaches have to be able to have short-term memories in most situations.
But not all situations.
A week after suffering one of the program's most embarrassing defeats in recent memory, UNLV coach Bobby Hauck said he doesn't expect to forget the Rebels' 41-16 home loss to Southern Utah that sent them into a bye week on an unexpected low note.
"That will never go away," he said. "There are certain ones over the years, both wins and losses, that just hang with you."
If anything, Hauck would like for it to serve as a reminder to his young team that, when building a program, consistency is as important as anything.
Had the Rebels (1-3) found a way to repeat their performance on both sides of the ball from their Sept. 17 victory over Hawaii when Southern Utah came to town, they'd likely be 2-2 right now and have a bit more momentum as they get set to head on the road to face rival Nevada-Reno (1-3) this Saturday at 4:05 p.m.
"We can't be up and down," he said. "We want to make sure we're making consistent progress. We want the highs to be high, but we don't want those wild swings in terms of performance."
This weekend, UNLV will try to change trends in two areas where they've unfortunately been all too consistent of late: On the road and against UNR.
UNLV hasn't won a game against the Wolf Pack since 2004 — John Robinson's final season at the helm.
The Rebels have dropped all nine road games they've played under Hauck, including their first two this season at Wisconsin and Washington State by a combined score of 110-24.
Their last trip to Reno in 2009 helped mark the beginning of the end for former coach Mike Sanford, who that day saw his defense allow 773 yards of total offense in a 63-28 loss — a game that was tied at halftime, 21-21.
"Like coach said, there's games that you never forget," said senior linebacker Nate Carter, who is one of the few holdovers from the Sanford era who played a significant role in that game. "That's definitely going to be one of them (for me)."
Bye week no picnic
Most teams see a bye week in the middle of the season as an opportunity to let players heal up some and regain some energy.
UNLV did not have that luxury last week, as Hauck and his staff felt their team needed to be pushed following the unsightly home loss.
"We've had to own up, at least internally, to our last one," he said. "We kind of are getting a feel for who we are, what we are. I think we had a productive week last week in terms of getting better. We banged ourselves around last week; we had four heavy practices. I think it will pay dividends for us not just this week, but going forward."
One guy who had plenty to atone for in the off week was sophomore quarterback Caleb Herring, who after protecting the ball well in his first three starts, threw three interceptions against SUU, with all of them going back the other way for touchdowns.
"It was drilled in, as it should be," he said. "It's one of those things where you make a mistake and you have to learn from it or that mistake repeats itself. It was certainly drilled into my head that it's something that has to be cleaned up, and it will be."
UNLV's 1-3 record looks a bit different than UNR's at this point.
The Rebels' trip to Reno comes during a stretch of 35 days between home games for Hauck's club, which after the Sept. 24 loss to SUU won't take the field at Sam Boyd Stadium again until Oct. 29 against Colorado State, with two bye weeks in between.
Meanwhile, UNR is making its home debut at Makay Stadium this weekend.
Yes, you read that right.
The Wolf Pack's rough road to this point, after a bye weekend to start the year, has included trips to face Oregon, San Jose State, Texas Tech and, most recently, Boise State.
Despite coming away with just one win in that stretch, the buzz for this game appears to be strong in Reno, as the home fans have not seen their team play in town since a stunning 34-31 upset of then-No. 3 Boise State last November.
"It'll be a battle of the weird schedule teams, kind of," Hauck joked. "Us having 35 days between home dates, five home dates on the season, two open dates within a month's span is kind of unique."
Issues of their own
UNLV likely won't know who UNR will start at quarterback until the Wolf Pack's first offensive snap of the game.
It's been an interesting carousel under center in the post-Colin Kaepernick era for UNR. Senior Tyler Lantrip has started all four games with mixed results. Redshirt freshman Cody Fajardo has played in two games, missing last week's loss at Boise State with a shoulder injury that coach Chris Ault hinted he could have worked harder to return from. Also getting a few snaps last week was sophomore Mason Magleby.
"Cody should be OK. We'll see. Lantrip should be involved. All three of them will still be involved," Ault told the Reno Gazette-Journal. "We'll make a decision with what we'll do with the quarterback at the end of the week. I need to see the week."
This and that …
Hauck said that beginning next season, when UNLV and UNR are both members of the Mountain West Conference, he hopes that the rivalry game will be moved to the end of the schedule … The game can be seen locally on Cox Cable channel 96 …. Senior Quinton Pointer, who began the season as a starting cornerback for the Rebels, is now listed as a backup to senior Mike Clausen at free safety. Sophomore Sidney Hodge and senior Will Chandler are listed as the Rebels' starting corners.