New UNLV football coach Bobby Hauck, a man who guided Montana to the Division I-AA title game three times in seven seasons, is trying to bring that same success to the Runnin' Rebels program. But he is finding that to be a tough row to hoe, as his schedule maker placed six teams on the 2010 slate that are ranked or have been at one time.
"When you're trying to build things, it's difficult to play the type of schedule we've played," Hauck said. "It's physically hard on our team, that's for sure."
Things don't get any easier for the 1-4 Rebels this Saturday, as they venture into Morgantown to play West Virginia University, a team which had been in the top 25 until a heart-breaking loss two weeks ago to then No. 15 Louisana State in Baton Rouge.
Complicating the matter for UNLV is that they must travel across the continent, meaning three time zones, to take on West Virginia.
"Certainly the travel is difficult, especially when you go west to east," Hauck said. "They are three time zones away. There are some things that play into making this a hard game. The No. 1 thing is that they're pretty darn good, too."
UNLV was falling to rival Nevada-Reno, ranked 25th in the nation, last week while the Mountaineers sat idle. That off week gave WVU running back Noel Devine a chance to take care of a bruised bone on his foot, and Hauck is anticipating seeing No. 7 run with the football.
"He has the ability to make people look silly in the open field and go the distance on every play," the Rebels coach said.
Although Hauck has never visited Morgantown, he has received at least an inkling of what's in store for his team. UNLV deputy athletic director Jerry Koloskie graduated from WVU in 1980. Athletic training director Kyle Wilson did the same in 1982, and assistant athletic director Erik Schwarz graduated in 1993.
"Morgantown is known for being loud, and their fans are passionate about the game," Hauck said. "it's a college town. It's a cool place to play. It's a great venue."
UNLV features junior cornerback Will Chandler, who leads the country with four interceptions and six total takeaways.
"He's done a nice job competing for the football," Hauck said, "which is a good quality to have in a corner."