Preview 2018: Previewing and looking ahead to the UNLV Rebels season with what you need to know.
Preview 2018: UNLV Rebels
– Team Overview
– What You Need To Know: Offense | Defense
– Top Players, Key Game, Fun Stats
– What Will Happen & Win Total Prediction
– Recruiting Class Analysis | Schedule Analysis
– UNLV Previews 2017 | 2016 | 2015
To be fair, UNLV football has been a problem no one has been able to solve – at least since the early 1980s.
Ron Meyer turned a terrific three year run in the early 1970s into the SMU job that led to the SMU that became SMU, and Tony Knapp went 47-20-2 to follow up Meyer. Since then, eight coaches have tried and failed. All had losing records, going a combined 128-291-1 – a winning percentage of .306 – from 1982 until now.
John Robinson was one of the all-time great college football head coaches, and he couldn’t turn UNLV into a winner. Bobby Hauck was the hot guy in the FCS world, and he could only manage a 15-49 record with one bowl appearance.
But in a city full of spectacular things built off the failures of others, in his fourth year at the helm, head coach Tony Sanchez appears to be on the verge of figuring this all out.
If there was ever going to be a guy who could make the program work, it’s Sanchez, considering his legendary high school coaching career at nearby Bishop Gorman, his relative youth – just 44 years old – and with the exact type of energy and ideas needed for the gig.
And he actually is doing a good job improving the Rebels, going from three wins to four to five as he builds up the talent level and gets all of the pieces in place.
Now he might actually have everything there to produce a consistent winner.
It starts with having the right quarterback, getting back rising star Armani Rogers for his sophomore season along with most of the top targets. The offensive line has been Sanchez’s big plus in his three years, and as long as the left tackle situation is settled, he might have his best one yet, paving the way for the underappreciated Lexington Thomas.
The defense is missing the bulk up front, but it’s full of safety-sized athletes who can move. It’ll never be a brick wall of a D, but as long as its getting into the backfield and coming up with a few decent moments here and there, the offense has the ability to do the rest.
The world likes Las Vegas. UNLV being a winner is an easy story, much like the way the city took to hockey when the Knights won right out of the gate, and still mythologizes the Rebel hoops program.
And before the Raiders get to town, Las Vegas is going to have a winning football program to get into, too.