Okay, we’re back with the diary and I have to tell you that the trip to BYU last week got a little chilly. I decided to go no long sleeves and I regretted that decision by the fourth quarter. The heated benches we had on the sidelines were great, however. It wasn’t nearly as bad as the weather at Air Force last year, but it was cold.
For the second straight week, our starter, Blake Decker, had to leave the game and Jared Lebowitz took over. I’ve been asked about how the receivers adjust when a new quarterback comes in. I tell them that we can’t let it affect us. We practice with both throughout the week. We get reps with both. Players can go down at any point so you have to be ready to play with either guy. Lebo came in and did a great job, in my eyes. He held his composure and played with poise. We just have to make more plays for our quarterbacks, starting with myself.
We were just talking about one specific play from the BYU game — the long touchdown run by Shaq (Murray-Lawrence). The receivers did a great job blocking downfield on that one. On film you can see Maika (Mataele) come in and hit a guy and it kind of knocked down two people, which allowed Shaq to bounce it outside. Then Marcus (Sullivan) ran past Shaq and got some guys and Devonte (Boyd) was doing a great job blocking his guy up front and once Shaq cut back, I blocked the furthest guy out and he was able to get around us and into the end zone.
When you see long runs like that, you may not realize that not only did the running back and offensive line do well but the receivers were downfield doing their jobs. Our position coach, Cedric Cormier – “Coach C” – said it was the favorite play he had ever seen. That’s kind of crazy because no one made a catch during it, but it showed how things are supposed to work when you don’t have the ball in your hands.
Next up, we head over and play at Hawai’i and go from freezing temperatures in Utah last week to warmth and humidity this week. Since I’m from Houston, I can handle that kind of weather a lot easier. Unlike two years ago when we left earlier in the week, we are leaving Friday and coming back right after the game like we do every other road trip. It’s a short trip and I like this schedule better. I’m glad that we’re treating it like a regular game with a lot of work at the hotel and not much free time. I think it will help us in the way we play. I remember when I was there as a sophomore a bird flew into my hotel room because I left the sliding glass door open to hear the ocean. And this was not a regular bird – it was a really BIG bird. I had to kind of shoo-shoo-shoo him out. True story!
Watching Hawai’i on film, they play fast and aggressive. They are big and physical guys. They always play well at home but to come over here and shut out a good San Jose State’s offense last week shows that we definitely have our work cut out for us.
We have a lot of guys from Hawai’i and American Samoa on our team and they are obviously very excited. This will be the last time for many of these guys to play football in their home state and they want to do well in front of family and friends so we need to go out and play hard for them.
It’s not hard to keep focused with just two games left but it is setting in that my career here is winding down. I’m still checking things off my checklist and this will be my last road trip as a Rebel player. You spend so much time here in college and now things are going really fast to the finish line.
Talk to you all next time for Reno Week!
UNLV travels to play Hawai’i on Saturday at 8 p.m. PT. The game can be seen online via the Mountain West Network at unlvrebels.com.
Check our GameDay page for all the news leading up to the UNLV-Hawaii game.