UNLV football:

Rebels football trying new strategies and working through mistakes


Steve Marcus

UNLV football coach Bobby Hauck, announces the Rebels’ 2013 recruiting class during a news conference at the Thomas & Mack Center Wednesday, February 6, 2013.

UNLV Football Practice: 3/4/13

Quarterback Nick Sherry, center, exercises with the team during practice at Rebel Park at UNLV Monday, March 4, 2013. Launch slideshow »

Pay no attention to the man behind the placard.

On the offensive sideline at Rebels practice there’s an assistant with a stack of big signs, measuring about 2 1/2 by 4 feet, that on one side contain an image that correlates to a specific personnel group that should be on the field. For example, one picture is of the Las Vegas Strip sign at night.

“Timm (Rosenbach) likes doing it that way, so that’s what we’re doing,” UNLV coach Bobby Hauck said of his new offensive coordinator.

This is spring football practice, after all, so why not try out a few things.

“This is where we make the mistakes and fix them,” said quarterback Nick Sherry.

After a week off for spring break, the Rebels were back at Rebel Park on Monday, using their final of three mandated no-pads practices to ease back into the rhythm of things. Over the next two weeks UNLV will practice five more times (including two scrimmages) before breaking again for the summer. Between now and then there are still countless schemes to learn, plays to run and tackles to make.

As far as the dominant storyline coming into camp — the absence of several key players because of injuries, especially on offense — a lot of players are getting more reps than they otherwise would. And while it may make practice look worse in the short term, that’s helpful with an eye toward fall and the future.

“If we want to have the kind of seasons around here that we anticipate being excited about we have to be able to play two or two and a half deep, which has never been the case here,” Hauck said.

One of the newest guys getting those extra reps in practice is juco transfer Jack Killian at wide receiver. One of several midyear transfers who could make an impact in 2013, Killian is working at every receiver position in order to give himself the best possible chance to play.

Killian had 992 yards and 14 touchdowns on 15 catches last year for San Joaquin Delta College in Stockton, Calif. Hauck put him in the top group of six receivers that includes former quarterback Caleb Herring and Devante Davis, who’s one of the key returners missing spring practice because of a minor injury.

“Those numbers lead you to believe, which is true, that he catches everything that comes his way,” Hauck said of Killian, who could also be a speed threat.

Like a lot of guys, he’s all over the field trying to make himself stand out. The guy throwing Killian the ball most of the time, Sherry, is trying to do the same, though his status on the team is much more secure.

Sherry said he’s much more confident in is internal clock during practice — how quickly he needs to throw the ball, timing with his receivers, etc. — than this time last year because of his experience as a freshman. There are still things to learn, though, he said, and things to try. Like looking off to the sidelines for a play, hoping to see the Strip sign at night.

“We’re testing the waters right now,” Sherry said. “See what works, see what doesn’t.”

Taylor Bern can be reached at 948-7844 or [email protected]. Follow Taylor on Twitter at twitter.com/taylorbern.

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  1. Good to see OC T. Rosenbach bringing us into the 21st century of offensive football. Practice, practice, practice boys you're getting closer.Keep it up!

  2. I don't expect much from the team this season. I think they'll win four games next season. It's hard not to get better when they have been terrible for so long. I've said in the past that Hauck should be fired, but I don't know who could do a better job.

  3. Being originally from Youngstown, OH, I know very well the success Montana has at the FCS/1AA level. Back when Youngstown State was among the elite programs in FCS/1AA, there were several playoff games between YSU and Montana.

    Coach Hauck is a quality coach. He has a proven track record of success. UNLV has been quite bad in football for several years. The MWC has some very good programs. Schools that have better facilities than UNLV, and where the administration places a greater emphasis on winning that is done at UNLV.

    I understand UNLV is first and foremost a "basketball" school as far as athletics, but I see no reason why UNLV cannot become an upper tier football program in the MWC. The question seems to be do the powers that be at UNLV want this to happen, or are they content to have a football program just for the sake of having football. One thing I have learned about this town, is like so many other places, people will support a team that wins.

    Huack did not suddenly forget how to coach upon taking the UNLV job, but he did go from a school that places a strong emphasis on football, to one where it almost seems like something to fill the void until basketball season.

  4. "Killian had 992 yards and 14 touchdowns on 15 catches last year", that is insane, he averaged 66+ yards per catch? Talk about a deep threat!!

  5. You're right (Louis)! That is insane. 992 yards on 15 catches is what jumped out at me right away. Can that be a misprint? Was he a man among children (in JC), or is he a reason to get a little excited about the pass game?

    I know Rebel football is extremely weak. But I'm still psyched for the season to start. I love cheering for an underdog!