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Hauck quickly makes his point

Football coach Bobby Hauck’s message Monday morning in his first team meeting at UNLV was relatively brief — and that was the point.

He talked to the team for about 15 minutes, emphasizing the importance of actions rather than words.

"He was saying he’s crunched on time, but he wasn’t going to hesitate because of that," junior offensive tackle Matt Murphy said. "He stressed doing the work. He’s big on not talking about things but showing progress and showing what you can do."

Hauck, 45, was hired Dec. 22 after seven seasons at Montana, where he won or shared the Big Sky Conference championship each year, posted an 80-17 record and reached three Football Championship Subdivision national title games. Hauck was the conference’s Coach of the Year three times.

Anything approaching such success at UNLV, which has not had a winning season or bowl berth since 2000, would seem a dream come true for the program’s long-suffering supporters.

Previous coach Mike Sanford was 16-43 over five seasons. But Sanford did boost the Rebels’ talent level, and the team missed becoming bowl eligible by a single win each of the past two seasons — a fact that didn’t go unnoticed by Hauck.

"He said when he watched film he can tell we were so close and need a little push to get over the hill," junior tailback Channing Trotter said. "He can tell we worked hard."

Next season will certainly be a challenge, given UNLV’s 13-game schedule might be the toughest in school history. It plays nine teams that appeared in bowl games this past season, including home games against Wisconsin and Texas Christian and trips to West Virginia, Brigham Young and Utah. Plus, there is a season-ending trip to Hawaii, traditionally a tough place to win.

Hauck got a late start in recruiting because of the date of his hire but landed commitments Sunday from five local players. NCAA rules prohibit Hauck from commenting on recruits until the Feb. 3 signing date.

As for what he told his current players Monday, Hauck said via text message, "Just said it was time to get to work and set the schedule."

Players seemed to buy in to his philosophy. Junior defensive end Malo Taumua said there was a buzz at the 7:30 a.m. meeting.

"Nobody was tired," Taumua said. "Nobody was groggy. Everybody was fired up for the new coach.

"He didn’t talk too long. He didn’t need to talk too long. He wants to get to work."

• NOTES — Hauck apparently will hire Michael Gray as defensive line coach and Mike Gerber as strength coach, sources said. Those hires would complete his staff. Gray coached the defensive line at Oregon from 2005 to 2008. Gerber has been Montana’s strength coach the past four seasons. … Hauck left Monday for Orlando, Fla., to attend the American Football Coaches Association convention, which ends Wednesday.

Contact reporter Mark Anderson at manderson@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2914.

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