MINNEAPOLIS — UNLV looked like a spread team during training camp, and they looked like one during Thursday’s 51-23 loss at Minnesota, often going with three- and four-receiver sets.
But Rebels coach Bobby Hauck, who usually runs a traditional offense, is hesitant to call UNLV a spread team.
He instead said the type of offense the Rebels run will depend on that particular week.
“We’re going to be multiple,” Hauck said. “You game plan and do what you think is going to work the best against somebody.”
The Rebels also often went with a no-huddle offense, and Minnesota nose tackle Ra’Shede Hageman said the “quick-tempo offense tired me out. But when you get tired, it becomes even more important to stay physically and mentally focused. All we had to do was generate turnovers and put the offense in a position to win.”
Hageman did his part, blocking a field goal midway through the third quarter that led to a touchdown and a 30-13 lead for the Gophers.
“I was focusing on the ball as it was snapped, and the first thing in my mind was to come at it full speed,” Hageman said. “I got by the guard, and as soon as I was back there, I jumped and put my hands up. Then I felt the ball touch my hands.
“I’m not as fast as I was back in high school, so I wasn’t able to run it down and score. I tried to keep the play moving, and then (Martez) Shabazz picked up the ball and made a great play.”
■\u2007SULLIVAN STAYS HOME — UNLV took a big loss even before its season began.
Junior wide receiver Marcus Sullivan, who also returns kicks and punts, remained in Las Vegas to deal with what Hauck called “a private issue.”
Hauck said Sullivan, who went to Cheyenne High School, won’t return for some time, but he would be back. Hauck also said Sullivan was not in legal trouble, and a Las Vegas Review-Journal reporter confirmed the player’s name didn’t come up in any police reports.
Sullivan is UNLV’s second-leading receiver from last year.
■\u2007GOING YOUNG — Hauck likes to redshirt incoming freshmen, but five played against Minnesota, so they can’t take the year off. Two were given prime special teams positions, with Keith Whitely handling kick returns and Nicolai Bornand kicking off.
“When we recruit them, we tell them if they’re in the mix, they’re going to get a chance to play,” Hauck said. “We try to lay out for them exactly what we see their role being, albeit depending on how the season plays out, those roles can expand.”
■\u2007PILING ON — Minnesota had the chance to take a knee during the final minute, but instead called a play for backup quarterback Mitch Leidner to try to score. He did, reaching the end zone from 4 yards with 42 seconds left.
“I always think it’s our job to stop them, not theirs,” Hauck said. “I’ve been in that situation 100 times. I probably did it different, but everybody’s different. I like (Minnesota coach) Jerry Kill. I respect him. He’s a friend of mine.”
■\u2007CLEAN GAME — Each team was penalized once, UNLV for 15 yards and Minnesota for five. The Gophers’ penalty didn’t occur until the fourth quarter.
Contact reporter Mark Anderson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-2914. Follow him on Twitter: @markanderson65.