2007 UNLV Preview - Offense
UNLV Rebel Offense Preview
Preview 2007 - Offense
2007 UNLV Preview |
2007 UNLV Defense Preview
2007 UNLV Depth Chart
2006 CFN UNLV
What you need to know: The
Rebel Shotgun Spread has basically misfired over the first two
seasons, but the potential is there for a huge turnaround. QB
Rocky Hinds, a disappointment in his first season after coming
over from USC, played with a torn ACL almost all season, and now
he'll be healthy. He'll have a loaded receiving corps to work
with led by Casey Flair and Ryan Wolfe, but all eyes will be on
Aaron Straiten on the outside. The star JUCO transfer of last
year has million-dollar talent, but now he needs to use it. The
emergence of Frank Summers as a powerback should help out the
running game, which already has speed -rusher David Peeples, but
the offensive line has to do more to pave the way.
Passing: Rocky Hinds
194-59, 2,148 yds, 8 TD, 13 INT
Rushing: David Peeples
133 carries, 519 yds, 7 TD
Receiving: Casey Flair
67 catches, 818 yds, 4 TD
Star of the offense: Junior QB Rocky Hinds
Offensive line depth
Player that has to step up and become a star: Tackles
Johan Asiata and Richie Plunkett
Unsung star on the rise: Sophomore C Joe Hawley
Best pro prospect: Senior WR Aaron Straiten
Top three all-star candidates: 1) Hinds, 2) WR Ryan
Wolfe, 3) WR Casey Flair
Strength of the offense: Wide receivers
Weakness of the offense:
Fine, so junior Rocky Hinds didn't exactly the world on
fire as expected after transferring from USC, but he showed just
enough promise to be the leader of the offense going into this
season. He's 6-5, 220 pounds, and far more mobile than his -49
rushing stats from last year might indicate. He completed 54% of
his passes for 2,148 yards and eight touchdowns with 13
interceptions, but he saved his best for last with a 351-yard,
two touchdown day against Air Force despite playing with a torn
ACL he suffered in the second game of the year. While he missed
spring ball to recover, he should be as good as new by the fall
and should be the all-around playmaker everyone expected him to
become last year.
Projected Top Reserves: With Hinds out, others got
a chance to shine. The most impressive was redshirt freshman
Travis Dixon, a runner who adds even more athleticism to the
mix. He was a top high school passer, but his real talent is in
making plays on the move. A major unknown before, now the
coaching staff has more faith in him after the good spring.
third man in the mix will likely be senior Jarrod Jackson,
a former starter who had a nightmare of a time with
interceptions when he got his chance in six games in 2005. He's
a good athlete who isn't a bad emergency option.
junior Dack Ishii was considered in the hunt for the
number two job going into spring ball, but he's fighting for
number three and could struggle to do that with top recruit
Michael Clausen on the way this fall. He's good enough to
make a big splash right off the bat.
Watch Out For ... Dixon to make more of a push for
the starting job this fall than you might think. Hinds might
look like the franchise quarterback, but if Dixon is more
effective at keeping the chains moving, he'll be the guy.
Strength: Mobility. Hinds should be far better on the
move now that his knee is healthy, and Dixon is even faster and
more athletic. The emergence of the Rebel spread attack depends
on getting more running from the quarterbacks.
Weakness: A proven number two. Yeah, Dixon should be a
good backup and yeah, Jackson has seen time, but Dixon hasn't
seen any time and Jackson stunk when he played. The coaching
staff really doesn't want to have to deal with the backup
situation before getting Dixon some live reps.
Outlook: Hinds needs to be the main man, and he
will be for stretches once his knee is 100%. The backup
situation went from being a potential disaster to a possible
plus with the emergence of Dixon, but he needs to be brought
along slowly behind Hinds. Don't be shocked if Clausen, who has
the game and the confidence, quickly becomes a factor.
Going into the fall, junior David Peeples will be the
number one back, but he has to prove he's back healthy after
being out this spring recovering from a shoulder problem. He led
the team with a pedestrian 519 yards with seven touchdowns, and
he didn't do enough for the passing game with just 12 catches
for 61 yards. While he's one of the team's fastest players, he
didn't tear off enough big plays and only averaged 3.9 yards per
Projected Top Reserves: Even if Peeples is the
lead back, he'll share time with Cal transfer Frank Summers,
a junior who was one of the best players in spring ball, showing
off good quickness to go along with his power. Now he has to
prove he can be a consistent runner and can be the back to bring
the hammer to combine with the speed of Peeples.
Third in the
hunt for time will be senior Ronnie Smith, a transfer
from Nebraska who ran for 138 yards and two touchdowns in a
limited role. He's a speed back who could do far more if he can
get the ball in space.
Sophomore Chris Brogdon is a
compact 5-7 and 210 pounds with decent power between the
tackles. He saw a little bit of time rushing for 26 yards in six
games, but he's the clear fourth man in the mix.
Watch Out For ... Summers to possibly be the main
man come fall. Peeples didn't set the world on fire last year
and could split time 50/50, or play a reduced role, if Summers
starts to produce.
Strength: Now, there are different backs to work with.
Summers brings a desperately needed big runner to the mix, while
Peeples and Smith can move.
Weakness: Receiving. While it isn't always necessary for
the backs to be playmakers in the passing game, it would be nice
if these did more to become safety valves. With some speed backs
in the mix, they need the ball in the open. The coaching staff
has to invent more ways to use the athleticism.
Outlook: The ground game was mediocre last year,
partly because it was average, and partly because the team got
down so big so fast that it had to start bombing away. If
needed, the backs are in place, thanks to the emergence of
Summers, to start to add more balance to the attack. For the
Rebel Shotgun Spread to work, the backs need to start getting
involved. They will be.
The Rebel receiving corps is loaded with experience and
potential led by sophomore Ryan Wolfe, who led the team
with 911 receiving yards and five touchdowns averaging 16.6
yards per catch. One of the surprises of the season, he turned
into the go-to target when the passing game was looking for a
big play, and he was consistent with three or more catches in
every game but one. He has good size at 6-1 and 205 pound with
good speed at the H.
The team's leading receiver was junior
Casey Flair, a quick walk-on who has made 99 tackles for
1,198 yards and six touchdowns over the course of his career.
More than just a possession receiver at the inside Z, he had two
100-yard games and averaged 12.2 yards per catch. He's a tough,
smart target who always seems to find the openings.
The star-in-waiting (at least that's the hope) is senior
Aaron Straiten, a top JUCO transfer who didn't break out as
expected last year catching just 22 passes for 249 yards and
three touchdowns. He's 6-2 and 195 pounds with tremendous speed.
Considered to be a cross between former USC stars Keyshawn
Johnson and Curtis Conway, he could be a difference maker for
the team's season if the light goes on.
When the team uses a
tight end, 6-3, 245-pound senior Chris Butler will return
to his starting spot. He was underutilized last year as the
offense rarely used a tradition tight end, and now he's expected
to catch far more than five passes for 66 yards and a score.
Projected Top Reserves: The Rebel offense often
uses four wide receiver sets adding a Y receiver. When that
happens. 6-5, 220-pound sophomore Rodelin Anthony will
step in providing a matchup nightmare. He caught 17 passes for
235 yards and two touchdowns and showed the potential to be a
far bigger part of the offense. With his size, he should be a
sure-thing in one-on-one coverage.
Junior Renan Saint-Preux
was a star recruit who hasn't been able to find his niche.
Used inside and out, he has the size and strength to be a tough
target at the X or Y, but his speed makes him a natural at the
outside X. Now he has to start hitting some home runs after only
averaging 6.8 yards per catch on 17 grabs last year.
Lorenzo Bursey Jr. is a small target at the H behind Wolfe,
but he's one of the fastest players in the corps.
Watch Out For ... Straiten. The underground buzz
about him going into last year set up unrealistic expectations
that weren't remotely close to being met. With NFL-caliber
talent, he's due to break out.
Strength: Experience and talent. Overall, this might be
the deepest and most talented receiving corps the program has
ever had with with the top five wide receivers from last year
returning. If Wolfe and Flair do what they did last year, and if
Straiten turns out to be the playmaker he's supposed to be, the
sky's the limit.
Weakness: Sure-thing deep threat. There's more than
enough speed to go around, but no one has become a consistent
field -stretch. Oh sure, there have been big plays here and
there, but someone has to open things up for everyone else and
become a game-changer.
Outlook: The corps is loaded with veterans who
should come together to provide plenty of options for the
coaching staff to work with. If each starter plays up to his
capability, there's no reason why this can't be the Mountain
West's most dangerous passing attack. Wolfe and Flair form a
great 1-2 punch to work around, while Straiten and Saint-Preux
could take things to another level.
The Rebel line has an interesting mix of players with several experience
reserves needing to shine in starting roles. Tim Goins and
Mike McKiski are the only two returning starters, each at guard, but
they have to fight to hang on to their jobs. Goins started off as the
main man at center before spending more time at guard, and then he took
over a starting role last year. He's not huge for a guard at 6-4 and 295
pounds, but he can move. McKiski is a space-eater on the right side at
6-6 and 310 pounds. The former walk-on has been a steady starter, but
he's not going to dominate anyone.
Sophomore Joe Hawley will take over at center, where he's
considered to be the rising star of the line. A solid 6-3 and 280
pounds, he's athletic, quick and very talented having turned down places
like Wisconsin and Arizona to anchor the UNLV front five.
junior Johan Asiata is one of the team's biggest blockers, and he
has a little bit of experience starring for Yuba College before joining
the Rebels. He redshirted last year and is ready to hit the ground
running on the right side.
6-6, 290-pound sophomore Richie Plunkett
brings the attitude on the left side. The Colorado State transfer
had to sit out last year and showed this spring that he's ready to be a
major blocker in all areas.
Projected Top Reserves: Pushing hard for one of
the starting guard jobs will be Ramsey Feagai, a 6-2, 360-pound
run blocker who can play either guard spot and provide some serious
power. He can also play center.
Junior Mario Jeberaeel, at 6-4
and 265 pounds, is a smaller, more athletic option than Plunkett at left
tackle, while 6-6, 295-pound redshirt Evan Marchal is a rising
star on the right side working behind Asiata.
Watch Out For ... better run blocking. Last year's
group had a hard time dominating early on in games and ended up becoming
a pure pass protection unit. That should change with the addition of
Plunkett and Asiata, who can both hit.
Strength: Potential. Hawley has all-star ability, the
tackles appear to be stronger, and there's good competition for the
guard spots. The line could grow into a strength.
Weakness: Quality reserves. The overall talent level has
been raised, but there's nothing in the way of veteran depth to rely on
at any of the five spots. There will be big problems if injuries strike
Outlook: This should be a good line in time, but
it'll have to find just the right combination to make it happen. The run
blocking has to be better, and to do that, there has to be a meaner,
more physical attitude that was lost when the unit had to focus more on
the finesse side of things.
|Add Topics to My HotList
|Get free email alerts with news about your favorite topics. Click link to add to My HotList.
|Football > UNLV|
|[View My HotList]