UNLV coach Bobby Hauck has never been afraid to accept blame, and he did so again at his weekly news conference Monday.
“I’d say the head coach needs to do a better job,” he said.
It’s one thing, of course, to accept responsibility. It’s another to make the necessary improvements to turn around a football season that has begun 1-3. UNLV enters Mountain West play at 5 p.m. Saturday at San Diego State.
Go into the numbers, and they show just what a difficult task Hauck and his staff have in front of them.
■ UNLV is 88th of 125 teams in total offense nationally, averaging 379.5 yards per game. That figure also ranks seventh in the 12-team Mountain West.
■ The Rebels’ 18.5-point scoring average is tied for 112th nationally and is second to last in the conference.
■ UNLV is last in the conference and No. 124 nationally in total defense, giving up 566.0 yards per game. Three of UNLV’s four opponents have topped 500 yards.
■ Opponents also average 305.2 yards rushing against the Rebels, last in the Mountain West and next to last in the country.
■ The Rebels allow 41.2 points per game, 10th in the conference and No. 116 nationally.
■ Their minus-5 turnover margin is 11th in the league and tied for 113th in the nation.
But this being Las Vegas, the real numbers that underscore what kind of start the Rebels are off to are in the betting lines.
There is a local saying that good teams win, but great ones cover.
Then the opposite must be true of this UNLV team because the Rebels not only are 0-4 against the spread, but other than losing by 14 points as a 10-point underdog to Northern Illinois, they haven’t come close to hitting the line.
They were 21-point underdogs at Arizona and lost by 45, 27½-point favorites over Northern Colorado and won by one, and 20½-point underdogs to Houston and lost by 33.
Now UNLV is a 16-point underdog at San Diego State, where the Rebels haven’t won since 2000.
Hauck said in the preseason this was his best team, and he hasn’t backed off his assertion the Rebels are talented. So maybe he didn’t make the proper assessment, or UNLV isn’t playing up to its ability.
Either way, the season is beginning to slip away, and Hauck said his practice no matter the situation is to evaluate the team on a daily basis.
He considers an overhaul the wrong answer, but clearly something needs to be done.
“We’re always trying to improve, and that’s what we’re doing now,” Hauck said. “As I said after the game on Saturday, I don’t think panic is a good trait in anything for anyone, specifically for football. That’s not what we’re going to do. We’re going to try to figure out what we do well and build on it.”
■ NOTES — Hauck said he didn’t know the availability of UNLV star wide receiver Devante Davis, who has a wrist injury. “I hope he can go,” Hauck said. “He tried to go last week and wasn’t real effective, so maybe this week he’ll be a little better.” Davis caught one pass for zero yards on Saturday at Houston. … The Rebels’ Oct. 4 game at San Jose State will be at 5 p.m. and televised on ESPNews.
Contact reporter Mark Anderson at email@example.com or 702-387-2914. Follow @markanderson65 on Twitter.
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