With the UNLV football team’s scores from last season, it is really easy to expect a similar outcome this time around. Considering how the team went 0-6, in which every game was a blowout, it is hard to anticipate that this year is going to be much better.
However, I think most fans are purposely ignoring many factors out of fear of watching another disappointing season as a Rebel fan, so let’s be reasonable and look at the factors that the team has to offer to provide a more accurate picture of what UNLV football will look like this season.
It is well-known within the Mountain West division that the Rebels were not only 0-6 last season, but they also averaged roughly about 17 points a game and had given up well over 30 points a game last year.
These stats are very shaky coming into this season, but then again, most of the players and coaches consider that last season for the Rebels have had no impact on the competitiveness of the team since they had a brand new staff and head coach.
A first-time head coach already has a difficult time preparing and strategizing a game plan for his first season under normal circumstances, but for a season like last year, Coach Marcus Arroyo and his staff had little time to acclimate with the players and prepare game plans for the season.
“I can tell you what I did minute-by-minute in the last ten years of coaching,” Arroyo said. “However, I can’t even look at last year’s calendar because it didn’t exist.”
Overall, it would be unreasonable for a fan to look at last season and say that the team was in last place because the team’s record reflected how the COVID-19 restrictions inhibited their preparation. Looking at how things have gone so far this year, they are significantly more prepared and organized than how they were last fall.
The team has had its first spring season, summer practices, team weight training sessions and film sessions under the new staff, which has allowed them to better themselves for this upcoming season.
“We started breaking down film for the first three games that we played, which was much more difficult to do last year,” junior Jacoby Windmon said.
This team understands that what they put on the field last season is not who they are this year. With that being said, they are more eager and prepared to prove their doubters wrong.
Most of the upperclassmen have even acknowledged the great amount of work and time that they have seen from not just their fellow underclassmen, but from their younger players, as well. This creates an environment of determination and inspiration amongst the upperclassmen and the team as a whole as they see everybody putting in their all.
When it comes to team dynamics, senior Charles Williams, the running back for the Rebels, proudly shares how the freshmen “are really doing great things already as they are working hard,” and he describes how some are even working during their free time, which emphasizes how much they really want to play.
“I see why Coach Arroyo had chosen them,” Williams said.
With all these factors, it is not surprising why the team carries a positive and upbeat attitude for this upcoming year. They reflected upon last season and are now ready to make an impact going into this new season.
This team is ready with one goal in mind, which is to win games, win the division and win a bowl game. In the end, however, we will never truly know until they step out onto that field in 10 days.