It looks like there's going to be a lot of changes ahead for UNLV's football team. Early designs for a new domed football stadium near the UNLV campus have been floating around the internet for a few weeks, and news also recently broke that Timm Rosenbach has been hired as the team's new offensive coordinator.
In your face, Jerry Jones!
Concept art for the UNLV Now football stadium, featuring a 100-yard-wide video screen. We'll never squint at an instant replay again...
The stadium will be replacing decades-old Sam Boyd stadium (located in the outskirts of town near Henderson, NV), and is supposed to be built on-campus, near the Thomas & Mack Center, only a few blocks away from the Las Vegas strip. The stadium is going to have a retractable dome roof, a seating capacity of 60,000+, and a 100-yard wide video screen. That's right, this stadium is going to have a video screen running the entire length of the football field, effectively making a whole side of the stadium unsuitable for seating.
Now on a 100-yard-wide video screen: the "Rebel Girls"!
The designers and backers of the new stadium want a building that exhibits the uniqueness and flair of Las Vegas, and they think a massive video screen is the way to do it. I guess mounting video poker machines on the backs of everyone's seats wouldn't fly. I'm not terribly thrilled about the video screen idea. A dick-measuring contest with Jerry Jones isn't my idea of improving the football program, and I highly doubt that any video screen is going to attract higher-profile recruits to the program unless the team actually starts winning. Maybe we can use close-ups of the cheerleaders to distract the visiting team?
On top of that, the location sounds like it's a disaster waiting to happen. UNLV's campus is located in THE busiest area of Las Vegas. Getting in and out of the Thomas & Mack for games and special events is already hard enough, and now they want to add a new stadium with three times the capacity?! Although, admittedly, it will probably be a long while before UNLV's football program attracts a full crowd, and the stadium isn't expected to be completed until 2017, so maybe they'll have time to renovate the roads in and out of the area before traffic becomes too much of a problem. Sam Boyd has a seating capacity of about 36,000, and UNLV can barely fill that up outside of the games against Nevada and BYU. If the proponents of the new stadium think that a massive video screen will give the team some national exposure and attract recruits, they might shoot themselves in the foot if UNLV gets embarassed by national audiences seeing a stadium more than 2/3 empty because the team can't win more than 2 games a year.
And as a former UNLV student, I can say that parking on campus is already a mess. The garage is too small and backs up too easily. Special events at the Thomas & Mack can make parking difficult (especially during the rodeo finals that always seem to coincide with final exam week). Since UNLV is primarily a commuter-school, parking is important, so tearing up one of the valuable parking lots for a new stadium sounds like yet another major inconvenience for students.
Finally, my dad and I have season home tickets every year, and we have really awesome seats! Row 6, 40-yard-line. I'd hate to have to give those up. On top of that, I have to admit that I will miss Sam Boyd. I've been seeing football games there my entire life. It will be nice to be able to watch the UNLV home games in the comfort of an air-conditioned building though, so I definitely can't complain about that!
New offensive coordinator: Timm Rosenbach
Enough about the stadium. UNLV also just hired a new offensive coordinator by the name of Timm Rosenbach.
New UNLV offensive coordinator Timm Rosenbach was a Heisman-nominated quarterback and coach at Washington State
UNLV's offense has been steadily improving over these first two seasons under head coach Bobby Hauck, but proved too inconsistent to be able to save the team from a measly total of 4 wins in two seasons. UNLV was a classic heart-breaker team in 2012, giving up seemingly safe leads in several games that they should have won: including blowing a 14-0 halftime lead against Division 2 Northern Arizona (losing 14-17), and the devastating blundering of a 31-14 halftime lead against rival Reno Nevada (losing 42-37). UNLV also played tough against Big Ten opponent Minnesota, but lost in triple overtime after failing to score. This team could have easily had 4, or even 6, wins in 2012, but just failed to put up the points in the second half of games when they needed to.
Looking at the box scores, you may think that UNLV's defense was horrible, and that the defense might have been the Achilles' heel of the team. But the defense actually played pretty well for most of the season and really impressed me with how quickly they converged on the ball. Yes, there were some holes in the secondary; and yes, players missed a few too many tackles; and yes, the defense had trouble containing the outside running game. But the defense made more than its fair share of stops, big plays, and turnovers. In fact - if memory serves me - UNLV's defense lead the nation in interceptions through the midpoint of the season! Unfortunately, the offense was hardly ever able to capitalize on the opportunities that the defense handed them, and the offense's frequent three-and-out possessions forced the defense to spend far too much time on the field under the blazing Las Vegas heat.
Hopefully, Mr. Rosenbach can help to change that and bring stability to the offense. He has experience working in the very competitive PAC 12 division, and he will have a very promising young quarterback, Nick Sherry, as well as a solid running game with tailback Tim Cornet to work with. Sherry started the 2012 season as a freshman, and despite a few bad decisions, he looked incredibly promising! Lets hope that Rosenbach can help turn Sherry into a top-tier quarterback and potential NFL draft prospect.
UNLV has been a team "on the verge" of turning the corner for about 3 years now. I'm sick of being "on the verge" of being good. Mr. Rosenbach, I hope you can finally help this team meet its potential!
And a quick tangent regarding uniforms
I also want to take a moment to say that I hope that UNLV changes their uniforms. The 2012 uniforms were too generic and non-distinct. In fact, they look almost identical to Ohio State and a number of other team's uniforms.
UNLV's freshman quarterback Nick Sherry donning UNLV's unexciting 2012 uniforms. Is it just me, or do they look just like Ohio State's uniforms?
UNLV's 2009-2011 uniforms weren't the pretties, but they were elegant, unique, and showed school spirit!
Apparently, the uniforms of 2009-2011 proved unpopular, but I really liked them. I even bought one immediately after seeing them for the first time in 2009!
Some complained that they were too plain and basic, but I thought that those were virtues: they were simple and elegant. The scarlet red and gray proved a good contrast, and the large-print "Rebels" and prominently-placed school logos showed pride in the school that the new uniforms just lack. My only real complaint was the monochrome helmets. I missed the pointed, red stripe of the earlier uniform, and thought that a variant of that stripe would have fit in well. But overall, I loved the uniform. It was unique!
2012 alternate all-gray uniforms in used in the rivalry game versus Nevada, Reno. I didn't like these at all...
The new (retro) uniform introduced in the 2012 season really is just plain and boring. It looks like every other football uniform ever. They maintained the large-print "Rebels" on the chest (although it had shrunk from the previous uniform), but everything else just looks like it came out of an automated, generic uniform printing press. Oh, and those solid gray uniforms were atrocious!
Maybe I'm the only one who thinks so: but please bring back the 2009-2011 uniforms!
In other sorta-UNLV news: the Mountain West conference looks like it may have stabilized. San Diego State, Boise State, and Air Force are all expected to remain in the conference from what I've heard.