May 10, 2011 12:01 AM by Scott Breen (KTVQ Sports)
Former Griz coach Bobby Hauck has his full hands entering his second season at UNLV. The Rebels only won twice in his first 13 games in Sin City. First, he told us about the uphill battle. Now, Hauck talks about what the Rebels need to fix right now, and what parts of Montana he misses the most.
Montana's mountains are a far cry from the palm trees and pools of Las Vegas. Gambling and buffets, shows and concerts, to the left and right of what seems like every street. So has Hauck's lifestyle changed even the slightest since moving to the world's entertainment capital?
"It's been pretty overwhelming trying to get things going here," admits Hauck. "So, we haven't had a lot of time off. But, as I like to say when our recruits are here, anywhere there are palm trees you are probably in a pretty good place. So, we've enjoyed the weather a lot. And you know, the golf game is improving. And, obviously you get a chance to do some of the entertainment things when you get an opportunity, and that's fun."
If you're wondering what Hauck misses most about Montana. Well that's easy. The fishing. He goes on to say he cherished the seven years he spent in charge of the Griz. And actually stays in touch with more coaches than you might think.
"You know, it's funny," Hauck says. "I keep up with a lot of the coaches in the Big Sky. Not only Robin (Pflugrad), but (Montana State head coach) Rob Ash, and coach (Ron) McBride at Weber (State), and Jerome (Souers at Northern Arizona), and Beau Baldwin (at Eastern Washington). I keep up with all those guys."
He says Eastern Washington's staff was down to Vegas these last two years watching UNLV's spring ball. And remember, the Eagles just won your most recent FCS Championship in January. But what does Hauck feel like he needs to do this season at UNLV for a step closer to the progress he made at Montana.
"Eventually we need to get a signature win that we can hang our hat on," claims Hauck. "We had a couple good wins last year where we beat up on some folks. But we need to get over that hump where we're winning more consistently. You know, in order to do that, we've got to grow up."
It's always about the bottom line. And Hauck's the first to admit his Rebels didn't come close. Not that he expected that in his first season. But entering year two, he's in more of a position to demand it.
"Well, we need to improve everywhere. We just didn't win enough last year," says Hauck. "We've got a chance to be better. We'll be one of the youngest teams in all of college football, if not the youngest next year. So, we played very well at home at times last year, but then didn't play well on the road. So, we need to develop the mental toughness and the discipline to do those things."
Hauck's Rebels face two challenges very similar to what the Grizzlies face this fall. Both teams need to find a new starting quarterback. And both teams open the season on the road in hostile environments. UNLV at Wisconsin, Montana at Tennessee.