2008 Mountain West Coference Football Preview: #8 UNLV Rebels

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2008 Mountain West Coference Football Preview: #8 UNLV Rebels

#9 San Diego State

The UNLV Rebels come in at number eight in the preseason projections, and if that is reality then Mike Sanford will be out as head coach.  If you missed any previous previews the links to those are provided above.  in December 2004, he was lauded as “one of college football’s leading offensive minds” based largely on his success at Utah as Urban Meyer’s innovative offensive coordinator.  Sanford has been far from productive with only 6 total wins in three years.  This could be the year that breaks Mike Sanford unless he can show drastic improvement and win at least five games.

Offense: Points were hard to come by last year as the Rebels only managed 18 per game, which is way too low for any offense, but especially low for a spread option offense that is suppose to put up points.  This year there should be only one starter at quarterback, and that will be Omar Clayton who Coach Mike Sanford announced last week that should help the stability of the offense..  Clayton did do well once he saw time and is who Sanford needs to run the spread offense.  Clayton has the speed to be able to run when needed, and he is capable at throwing the quick passes needed.  Frank Summers back at running back and was oh so close to getting 1,000 yards, but ended up with 928.  Running game is something UNLV has not had in the recent pass, and something that is vital for the spread option to work.

The receivers are there with Ryan Wolfe and Casey Flair who have been very good in their years at Vegas.  Wolfe and Flair also are part of the return game, because of their play making ability.  The offense has a chance to improve with the stability at quarterback and a potentially solid running game.

Defense:Similar to San Diego State the UNLV Rebels struggled to stop teams, with the loan exception of defeating Utah 27-0.  The biggest addition was new position coach Andre Patterson who spent several years at coaching the defensive line in the NFL.  Patterson was brought in to help shore up the defensive line that gave up 183 yards per game.  His experience should pay off to help UNLV at least be average at that position this season.

They did lose Beau Bell, who was the 2007 conference defensive player of the year and a fourth round pick by the Cleveland Browns.  Even with that loss the coaches fell the linebackers can be stronger, because of the amount of depth with returning players.

The defense should be better with nine starters back, but UNLV has not had the players to make big stops on defense for years.

August 30 Utah State
September 6 at Utah
September 13 at No. 15 Arizona State
September 20 Iowa State
September 27 Nevada
October 4 at Colorado State
October 18 Air Force
October 25 at No. 16 Brigham Young
November 1 TCU
November 8 New Mexico
November 13 Wyoming
November 22 at San Diego State

Don’t Even think about it… @Utah, @Arizona State, @BYU, TCU

50/50… Utah State, Iowa State, Nevada, @ Colorado State, Air Force, New Mexico, Wyoming @ San Diego State

Lock it up… None

Projected Record: 4-8

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