Sean Reilly to make first start at QB for UNLV this Saturday at Wyoming

Junior gets first career start in attempt to jump-start one of NCAA’s least effective passing offenses


Sam Morris

UNLV quarterback Sean Reilly throws against Southern Utah during the second half of their game Saturday, September 24, 2011. The Thunderbirds defeated the Rebels, 41-16.

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UNR fans celebrate after a game against UNLV on aturday, Oct. 8, 2011, at Mackay Stadium in Reno. UNR won the game 37-0 to extend its winning streak over UNLV to seven. Launch slideshow »

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What do you think about Bobby Hauck's decision to go with Sean Reilly over Caleb Herring this Saturday at Wyoming?

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Following Saturday's ugly 37-0 blowout loss at rival Nevada-Reno, UNLV second-year coach Bobby Hauck had to change something.

That something will be giving junior quarterback Sean Reilly his first career start when the Rebels (1-4) travel to face Wyoming (3-2) this Saturday in their 11 a.m. Mountain West Conference opener.

Heading to the bench is sophomore Caleb Herring, who so far has completed 53.4 percent of his passes for 615 yards, five touchdowns and five interceptions, but has been wildly inconsistent. His recent slide culminated by completing just one pass for eight yards on Saturday evening in Reno, which both set single-game lows in the program record books.

"Basically, Caleb's working hard, trying as hard as he can, and right now it's not going well enough," Hauck said at his Monday press conference. "Sean's also been working hard, and now he's getting a chance. That's kind of all I need to say."

Herring's slide began after UNLV's shocking 40-20 upset of Hawaii on Sept. 17, when he completed 17 of 29 pass attempts for 178 yards and two scores. The following week, in an equally stunning 41-16 loss at home to FCS foe Southern Utah, a solid defensive performance went to waste as Herring threw three interceptions that were all returned for touchdowns.

This past weekend, Herring didn't complete his first pass until there were just over four minutes remaining in the game, misfiring on his first 13 attempts, including a costly interception in the end zone early in the game with UNLV trying to grab an early lead. As UNR's defense turned up the pressure, he consistently held the ball too long, overlooked some open options in the flats and overthrew receivers downfield.

He thoroughly outperformed Reilly in fall camp, which ultimately landed him the starting gig, but at the very least, Reilly is deserving of a chance at this point to try and jumpstart an offense that has stalled since the season's first win.

"We've evaluated both guys a lot in practice," Hauck said. "Sean doesn't have a start under his belt, and at quarterback, it's different in games. He's practiced well, he's worked hard, he knows the offense and hopefully he'll respond well on Saturday.

"He's been here since January, and he's got a good grasp of (the offense). He's a smart guy."

The 6-foot-4, 210-pound Reilly threw for 2,425 yards and 26 touchdowns with only six interceptions last year at Saddleback College in Mission Viejo, Calif.

He's appeared in two games in mop-up duty this season, completing six of seven passes for 49 yards.

Through six weeks, UNLV ranks 113th out of 120 FBS schools in passing offense, and Reilly will go against a Wyoming defense that checks in at 92nd in passing defense, allowing 250 yards through the air per game.

After winning its first three games of the season, the Cowboys have lost back-to-back outings, first at home against Nebraska, then on the road this past weekend at Utah State. In the game at USU, Aggies true freshman quarterback Chuckie Keeton completed 15 of 20 passes for 213 yards and five scores before taking a seat during the second half.

UNLV is trying again to win its first road game under Hauck this weekend. Away from Sam Boyd Stadium since he took over, the Rebels are 0-10, losing those games by an average margin of 36.6 points.

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  1. I don't think he'll be as fast/quick as Herring, I think it will be better cause he has some experience under his belt. Hell, just about anything would be better. Find Payne, and toss it up.

  2. Agreed. The key to either of these guys being able to do anything is the offensive line stabilizing and some form of a run game developing. The two games this season where Herring looked the most uncomfortable (Washington State, UNR) were the ones where the o-line struggled mightily.

  3. here in chicago, we have our lovable loser chicago cubs and without fail year in and year out, over 3 million fans attend to watch what is called major league baseball. if the fans took a little time to reflect on their behavior, they would find out how quickly their team would turn into a winner by not showing up. an empty stadium is a powerful motivator.

  4. It will be nice to see a change.. After watching the last 2 games I feel like Herring has lost all of his confidence (something I thought he already lacked to start the season). We have a decent defense and a decent running game, we just need a QB that can complete a few passes on 3rd downs and get the ball in the play maker's hands.

    I think the one positive we've had in this dark decade is the receiving core, but we've always had a 'dual threat' QB that was never great at either running or passing. It will be cool to see what a more traditional drop back QB can do.

  5. Hey Ryan, What happened to Cornett?

  6. Smooga,

    Shoulda added a note. Cornett suffered a hip injury early in the came Saturday, hence Dionza Bradford getting the bulk of the carries the rest of the way. It looks like he should be able to go this weekend. He's still listed at No. 1 on the depth chart.

  7. Yes it was definetly time, you could see the body language in the receivers and other players they no longer had the confidience in him. If I scouted UNLV I would come away with knowing the only thing they do well is run the ball. Lets stack it up front take away any running game and have the quarterback beat us throwing the ball.
    1)I think that has contributed to a stalled running game.
    2) Please game plan for contingecy plans. Short passes, roll-outs, pick plays, crossing routes, screens, hurry up offense, quik trap plays more straght ahead off tackle and fade routes....pick up the pace adapt on the go!
    3) Watch more films, the way the passing game is set up today there is no way or excuse for these type of nubers we're posting.
    4)I'm very familiar with Saddleback jc the numbers are there now make the transiton to D1!
    Good luck Rebs!

  8. I am a life-long Las Vegan and several of my immediate family members have been in the Nevada University system. The black sheep of my family graduated from that school up North although she took some courses here at UNLV.

    I have been going to football and basketball games for decades because I love UNLV and care for the program.

    I recently lost my home and job and am living in my car with my girl and we still manage to make it out to practice once a week like we always have. We cannot afford to sit in section 128 anymore and have had to find a place to watch games on television and read about the Rebels while using free WiFi around town.

    I wish that there were 50,000 other UNLV diehards like me that truly loved the university.

  9. A change in qb is great BUT a change in the OC is what really needs to happen. I keep hearing about how great hauck is as a coach. How he is the right guy and he is a winner?! Sell that noise to the fools walking on Fremont street with a bottle in their hands!! The qb doesnt call the plays. It is the OC or the HC; that pionts to hauck as being the problem. He speaks about consistency. WE HAVE IT. WE ARE CONSISTENTLY HORRIBLE AND AS A SEASON TICKET HOLDER I AM GETTING SICK OF THIS LEVEL OF PLAY!! I hope Reilly will come in and spark the team and maybe we can compete against Wyo and NM. and who's brillant idea was it to play BSU for homecoming?? Why not CSU? Well, I expected 2 wins this year and I am still holding out hope for that. All I would like to see is for the team to compete. Two weeks to prepare for your in-state rival and we get NOTHING! I can barely listen to the coaches show! If he was truly a leader, the first thing that he should say is, "we have brought in a new Offensive Coordinator and his name is Mike Leach". "Also we have installed more closets in our locker room..."

  10. The other two changes that need to be made are by the regents firing Hauck and the man that hired him Livengood. Maybe we can get lucky and Arizona will hire them both .

  11. Glad to see a switch, although I believe the problems here are larger than who is starting at QB.

  12. Meh who cares. This school matters so little and I got so sick of hearing in the local media this weekend about UNLV-Nevada when there were much better national games going on that people around the country actually cared about.

    UNLV football will NEVER be relevant. I'd rather cheer for a team that might someday have an inkling of hope to be a winner.

  13. The change is probably too late

  14. Change we can believe in???

    Were our back-up QB's injured during the Reno game and unable come in??

    This is why Hauck is a no-go. It is like he is making decisions on the fly out of desperation and not intuition or even a reasonable approach. I think Herring's days are done at QB. If he has any confidence after that game I would be amazed.

  15. College football trivia: No Montana coach, in the history of modern football, has been successful at the next level. Not one, and there have been several. (if in doubt, look it up, it's very true)