Rivals.com Preview: UNLV #105

   

More preseason rankings from across the internet and this one is from Rivals who is counting down all I-A teams from 120-1 the lowest ranked team from the league is UNLV, no surprise really. Here is what Rivals has to say:

105. UNLV COACH: Mike Sanford (6-29 in three seasons)
LAST SEASON: 2-10 overall, 1-7 in Mountain West (last in league)
FINAL 2007 RIVALS.COM RANKING: 98th.
KEEP AN EYE ON: Senior running back Frank Summers, who originally signed with California, returns after rushing for 928 yards last season. Summers, nicknamed “The Tank,” rushed for six scores and also had four touchdown catches a year ago. Offensive tackle Matt Murphy made an instant impact as a freshman last season. Murphy made 12 starts and spent the final nine games of the season as the Rebels’ No. 1 left tackle.
STAR POWER: The Rebels boast one of the Mountain West’s most talented receiving tandems in Ryan Wolfe and Casey Flair. Wolfe, a junior, caught 66 passes for 784 yards and two touchdowns last season. Flair, a senior who is a former walk-on, had 54 receptions for 622 yards and three touchdowns.

frank summers
Summers

STRENGTHS: UNLV lost just one starter off the offensive line and returns players who accounted for 99 percent of the Rebels’ rushing yards and 78 percent of the receiving yards last season. Summers is a bruising runner who can make something out of nothing. Senior defensive tackle Jacob Hales, who will turn 26 this year after serving a Mormon mission earlier in his career, provides the defense with plenty of veteran leadership.
WEAKNESSES: The Rebels ranked last in the Mountain West and 112th in the nation last season in scoring offense (18.2 ppg). They also allowed 4.6 yards per carry. UNLV still hasn’t decided whether Travis Dixon or Omar Clayton will open the season as the starting quarterback after they split time as freshmen last season. The Rebels are counting on new defensive coordinator Dennis Therrell (he was promoted from linebacker coach) to improve the Rebels’ run defense, but the departure of 2007 Mountain West defensive player of the year Beau Bell could make that difficult.
THE BUZZ: All those returning starters assure that UNLV’s offense can’t be any worse than it was last season, but the unsettled quarterback situation makes us wonder just how much the Rebels will improve. UNLV better win its season opener against Utah State because there aren’t many other likely victories on the schedule.

– STEVE MEGARGEE
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